The effect of statins on acute and long-term outcome after ischemic stroke in the elderly

Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2012 Oct;10(5):313-22. doi: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2012.09.001.


Background: Although treatment with statins has produced beneficial effects when used as secondary prevention, its primary protective role is still somewhat controversial. Moreover, few studies have evaluated the effect of statins in older patients with stroke.

Objective: The aim was to investigate whether treatment with statins decreases stroke severity and/or improves survival and outcome after stroke in an older population.

Methods: We investigated the association between previous statin use and stroke severity (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale [NIHSS]), as well as the effect of poststroke statin treatment on 12-month functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score) in 799 patients (mean age, 78 years), with acute ischemic stroke. The effect of statin treatment on survival was examined using the Cox proportional hazard model, after adjusting for relevant covariates.

Results: Statins did not decrease stroke severity and did not improve 30-day survival. However, both the 12-month survival (hazard ratio = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.20-to 0.54; P < 0.001) and the 12-month functional outcome (odds ratio = 2.09; 95% CI, 1.25-3.52; P = 0.005) were significantly better in the group treated with statins.

Conclusions: Significantly better survival and functional outcome were noted with poststroke statins at the end of the 12-month follow-up period. Statins seem to provide beneficial effects for the long-term functional outcome and survival in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors