SEATTLE, WA — March 29, 2002 — People who take statins may have at least 60 percent less aortic valve calcium than people who do not take statins, according to a University of Washington study in the March 30 edition of The Lancet.
"A large percentage of elderly people suffer from excess calcium in their aortic valve. Excessive calcium buildup can prevent the valve from opening normally. Because we currently have no way to treat them with medicine, heart surgery to replace the valve is the only solution when the buildup is severe. But it may well be that the use of statins could slow or inhibit development of the problem," says Dr. Kevin O'Brien, an associate professor of medicine in the UW School of Medicine's division of cardiology.