Lipid-lowering therapy with statins reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated a low-density lipoprotein-independent action of this class of drugs, which appears to modulate endothelial function, inflammation, and thrombosis. Randomized studies showed a beneficial effect of short-term statin pretreatment in reducing periprocedural cardiac marker release in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In particular, the ARMYDA (Atorvastatin for Reduction of Myocardial Damage During Angioplasty) investigators- initially in stable angina patients, then in patients with acute coronary syndrome, and then in patients already on chronic statin therapy-demonstrated an improvement in 30-day major adverse cardiac event rates, which were driven by a reduced rate of periprocedural myocardial infarction. Moreover, statin therapy at the time of PCI significantly decreased the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy. These observations support high-dose statin pretreatment in all patients who are candidates for PCI.
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