American researchers have discovered genetic mutations that increase the risk of heart attack even when patients are treated with a statin to lower cholesterol.
Data from a Vanderbilt University team at Circulation explain why some patients are infected or require coronary revascularization for blocked arteries while statins. It also suggests that drugs can be developed to target genetic mutations and thus reduce the risk for this subgroup of patients.
Scientists focused on a sample of 3,999 people who had had a heart attack or needed revascularization while taking statins and compared them to 7,681 people who took statins and had not had a heart attack. They thus managed to locate seven genetic mutations (SNPs) at the LPA gene locus, which were associated with these heart attacks in statin-treated patients.
The LPA gene encodes apolipoprotein, a fatty protein that binds to the low density lipoprotein, the form of cholesterol in the blood targeted by statins. High levels of blocked LDL [Lp (a)] is a known independent risk factor for heart disease.
One of the individual nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was associated with an increased risk of a heart attack. When the researchers looked at 11,566 patients who had detected in electronic medical records and were carriers of SNP for over 1,000 physiological conditions, they noticed higher rates of coronary heart disease and strokes but no other conditions.
“The study highlights the need to target Lp (a) levels as an independent factor in reducing cardiovascular risk in patients taking statins,” says study lead author Wei-Ki Wei, assistant professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical School .