Background: Statins represent a modern mainstay of the drug treatment of coronary artery disease and acute coronary syndromes. Reduced aerobic work performance and slowed VO 2 kinetics are established features of the clinical picture of post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients. We tested the hypothesis that statin therapy improves VO 2 exercise performance in normocholesterolaemic post-MI patients. Materials and methods: According to a double-blinded, randomized, crossover and placebo-controlled study design, in 18 patients with uncomplicated recent (3 days) MI we investigated the effects of atorvastatin (20 mg day -1) on gas exchange kinetics by calculating VO 2 effective time constant (tau) during a 50-watt constant workload exercise, brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) as an index of endothelial function, left ventricular function (echocardiography) and C-reactive protein (CRP, as an index of inflammation). Atorvastatin or placebo was given for 3 months each. Results: Atorvastatin therapy significantly improved exercise VO 2 tau and FMD, and reduced CRP levels. We did not observe changes in cardiac contractile function and relaxation properties during all study periods in either group. Conclusions: In post-MI patients exercise performance is a potential additional target of benefits related to statin therapy. Endothelial function improvement is very likely implicated in this newly described therapeutic property.
- Oxygen kinetics
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