Background: The use of statins in children, although not frequent, is recommended in specific clinical contexts, namely, familial hypercholesterolaemia, conditions carrying a moderate-high cardiovascular risk and sub-optimal cholesterol levels after implementation of lifestyle modifications. The aim of this study is to characterise children with dyslipidaemia managed with statins, followed at a tertiary referral centre in central Portugal.
Methods and results: The authors carried out a retrospective and descriptive study made up of 66 patients (50% males, mean age of therapy onset 11.9 years) followed up at the Cardiovascular Clinic of a tertiary referral centre between January, 2012, and May, 2018. Clinical, analytical, and echocardiographic parameters were analysed. About 60.6% had clinical and/or molecular diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolaemia. On average, each patient had three cardiovascular risk factors, obesity (31%) being most prevalent, followed by arterial hypertension (14%). Statin therapy showed a statistically significant reduction in the lipid profile, particularly in the total cholesterol (23%) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (30%) levels, as well as in the carotid intima-media thickness (p = 0.015). Hepatic and muscle integrity markers were within normal range.
Conclusions: Statins are safe and efficient in the management of children with hypercholesterolaemia. Our study showed that apart from its lipid-lowering properties, it also reduced significantly the carotid intima-media thickness and, implicitly, the cardiovascular risk of these patients.
Keywords: Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors; atherosclerosis; dyslipidaemia; paediatrics; risk factors.