A systematic review and meta-analysis of trials using statins in pulmonary arterial hypertension

PVRI Member Authors: Thenappan Thenappan


Statins improve pulmonary vascular remodeling and right ventricular hypertrophy in animal models of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, clinical trials assessing the efficacy of statins in patients with PAH have reported mixed results. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we assess the efficacy of statins in patients with PAH. We included randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) that evaluated the efficacy of statins in patients with PAH. Primary outcomes were mortality and change in 6-minute walk distance (6MWD). Data are presented as odds ratio (OR) and weighted mean difference (WMD), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), for binary and continuous variables, respectively. We included 4 RCTs of high quality. The mean age of participants was 42 ± 13 years, and 70% were women. The statins used were simvastatin at 40–80 mg in two trials, atorvastatin 10 mg in one trial, and rosuvastatin 10 mg in the other. In the pooled-data analysis, there was no statistically significant improvement in mortality (OR: 0.75 [95% CI: 0.32–1.74]), 6MWD (WMD: −9.27 [95% CI: −27.73 to 9.20]), or cardiac index (WMD: 0.11 [95% CI: −0.04 to 0.27]) with statin therapy when compared to placebo. There was no difference in adverse events leading to withdrawal of therapy between statin and placebo groups. These data suggest that statins are not beneficial in the treatment of PAH. There is a need for large, well-conducted clinical trials assessing the effects of statins in patients with PAH. Future trials should include homogeneous patient populations and should be long-term, event-driven trials with combined morbidity and mortality end points.

Read the full article online


Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling
Right Ventricle: Structure, Function and Dysfunction


Vidhu Anand, Sushil Garg, Sue Duval, Thenappan Thenappan

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 6: No 3 cover image

September 2016

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 6: No 3

View this journal

Our research platform is the world.

Through worldwide collaboration, we can begin to answer the question of a global disease.

Join the PVRI