BACKGROUND.: Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) suffer from markedly higher rates of cardiovascular disease than the general population. Although therapy with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors ("statins") has been demonstrated to reduce the mortality from cardiovascular disease in patients without ESRD, only 10% of patients on dialysis are treated with these medications by day 60 of ESRD. We determined whether the use of statins is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular-specific death and total mortality in ESRD patients.
Methods: Data were analyzed from the U.S. Renal Data System Dialysis Morbidity and Mortality Wave-2 study, a cohort of randomly selected patients who were initiating dialysis in 1996. Information about the use of statins as well as other baseline characteristics was abstracted from the patients' dialysis records by dialysis personnel. Cox proportional hazards models were developed to determine the association between use of statins at baseline and subsequent risk of mortality, with adjustment for known mortality risk factors.
Results: Follow-up data were available for 3716 patients through July 1998. At baseline, 362 (9.7%) of patients were using statins. These patients had a mortality rate of 143/1000 person-years, compared with a rate of 202/1000 person-years for patients not using statins. Statin use was independently associated with a reduced risk of total mortality [relative risk (RR)=0.68, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.54, 0.87] as well as cardiovascular-specific mortality (RR=0.64, 95% CI=0.45, 0.91). In contrast, the use of fibrates was not associated with reduced mortality (RR=1.29).
Conclusions: Statin use was associated with a reduction in cardiovascular-specific death and total mortality in patients on dialysis.