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Aims: The effect of statins on risk of heart failure (HF) hospitalization and HF death remains uncertain. We aimed to establish whether statins reduce major HF events.

Methods and results: We searched Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for randomized controlled endpoint statin trials from 1994 to 2014. Collaborating trialists provided unpublished data from adverse event reports. We included primary- and secondary-prevention statin trials with >1000 participants followed for >1 year. Outcomes consisted of first non-fatal HF hospitalization, HF death and a composite of first non-fatal HF hospitalization or HF death. HF events occurring(MI) were excluded. We calculated risk ratios (RR) with fixed-effects meta-analyses. In up to 17 trials with 132 538 participants conducted over 4.3 [weighted standard deviation (SD) 1.4] years, statin therapy reduced LDL-cholesterol by 0.97 mmol/L (weighted SD 0.38 mmol/L). Statins reduced the numbers of patients experiencing non-fatal HF hospitalization (1344/66 238 vs. 1498/66 330; RR 0.90, 95% confidence interval, CI 0.84–0.97) and the composite HF outcome (1234/57 734 vs. 1344/57 836; RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.85–0.99) but not HF death (213/57 734 vs. 220/57 836; RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.80–1.17). The effect of statins on first non-fatal HF hospitalization was similar whether this was preceded by MI (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.68–1.11) or not (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.84–0.98).

Conclusion: In primary- and secondary-prevention trials, statins modestly reduced the risks of non-fatal HF hospitalization and a composite of non-fatal HF hospitalization and HF death with no demonstrable difference in risk reduction between those who suffered an MI or not.


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Originally published in European Heart Journal, 36, 1536-1546. Licensed under CC BY 4.0. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv072