eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 13
Clinical research

Moderate-dose atorvastatin improves arterial endothelial function in patients with angina pectoris and normal coronary angiogram: a pilot study

Amela Kabaklić, Zlatko Fras

Arch Med Sci 2017; 13, 4: 827–836
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Introduction: Endothelial dysfunction could contribute to the pathophysiology of angina pectoris (AP) in patients with normal coronary angiograms. Besides lipid-lowering effects, statins exert pleiotropic effects including improving endothelial function.

Material and methods: Our double-blind study included 58 patients with AP, noninvasively confirmed myocardial ischemia and a normal coronary angiogram. The effect of once-daily 20 mg atorvastatin (A) was compared with placebo (P) for 6 months. Endothelial function was evaluated by flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and microcirculation by peripheral arterial tonometry (EndoPAT) measuring the reactive hyperemia index (RHI), indicating microcirculatory endothelial function, and the augmentation index (AI), an indicator of arterial stiffness. The impact of AP on the quality of life was monitored using the Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ).

Results: Brachial artery endothelial dysfunction was found in 91.4% of patients at study entry, and subnormal RHI in 41%. Group A showed an improvement of FMD compared with group P, both at 3 and 6 months (+120.8% vs. –21.2%, and +70.8% vs. –1.9%, respectively, p < 0.001). No difference was detected in the RHI. Rate-normalized AI showed an improvement (–114.49% group A vs. –30.77% group P, p = 0.077), although the differences between the groups were not significant. According to the SAQ, an improvement was found in almost all observed variables with the exception of the issue of quality of life (QoL), where patients in both groups assessed their QoL at the control study visits as poorer compared with baseline.

Conclusions: Moderate-dose atorvastatin therapy improves endothelial function of large conduit arteries in patients with AP and a normal coronary angiogram, which probably reflects positive effects on coronary artery endothelial function. No effect was found with vascular effects at the level of the peripheral microcirculation.

microvascular angina, endothelial function, atorvastatin

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