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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Jul 3;40(1):49-55.

Projected life-expectancy gains with statin therapy for individuals with elevated C-reactive protein levels.

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Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



We sought to estimate the potential gains in life expectancy achieved with statin therapy for individuals without overt hyperlipidemia but with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.


Persons with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels below current treatment guidelines and elevated CRP levels are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and may benefit from statin therapy.


We constructed a decision-analytic model to estimate the gains in life expectancy with statin therapy for individuals without overt hyperlipidemia but with elevated CRP levels. The annual risks of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke, as well as the efficacy of statin therapy, were based on evidence from randomized trials. Estimates of prognosis after MI or stroke were derived from population-based studies.


We estimated that 58-year-old men and women with CRP levels >or=0.16 mg/dl but LDL cholesterol <149 mg/dl would gain 6.6 months and 6.4 months of life expectancy, respectively, with statin therapy. These gains were similar to those for patients with LDL cholesterol >or=149 mg/dl (6.7 months for men and 6.6 months for women). In sensitivity analyses, we identified the baseline risk of MI and the efficacy of statin therapy for preventing MI as the most important factors in determining the magnitude of benefit with statin therapy.


Our results suggest that individuals with elevated CRP levels, many of whom do not meet current National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines for drug treatment, may receive a substantial benefit from statin therapy. This analysis supports a crucial need for direct intervention trials aimed at subjects with elevated CRP levels.

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