Statins Found to Reduce Risk for VTE Recurrence

statins and stethoscope
A generic pack of statins with a stethoscope. A controversial anti cholesterol medication.All logos removed.
Treatment with statins was found to reduce the risk for disease recurrence in patients with venous thromboembolism.

Treatment with statins was found to reduce the risk for disease recurrence in patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine.

In this retrospective analysis, the deidentified data (2004-2017) from the Indiana Network for Patient Care database of patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism, as defined in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), were examined.

Additional data from the Indiana University Health and Eskenazi Health data warehouses were used to enrich clinical data. Generic Product Identifier codes were collected to identify patients who had vs had not been prescribed a statin medication (n=25,991and n=166,917, respectively).

The median follow-up period (1.1 million person-years). Statins were used by 13.5% of patients in this cohort. The incidence of VTE recurrence was 16% in both statin and nonstatin users in the absence of propensity matching (median time to recurrence, 2.7 years).

The researchers performed multivariate logistic regression with VTE recurrence as the dependent variable and 17 predefined independent predictor variables. In this analysis, the variables with the largest adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for VTE recurrence were: hyperlipidemia (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.86-1.98), obesity (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.45-1.55), hypertension (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.43-1.54), and diabetes mellitus (OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.41-1.50).

Patients who were not vs were prescribed statins had a greater incidence of VTE (20% vs 16%, respectively; OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.72-0.79; P <.0001) after propensity matching analysis.

Limitations of this study include its retrospective design and the reliance on ICD coding to identify diagnoses of DVT and pulmonary embolism as well as the lack of fasting lipid panel data.

Related Articles

“Whether [the use of statins] would be of greatest benefit across all patients with VTE or specific populations, such as older patients, those with underlying cardiovascular risk factors, or those unable to tolerate anticoagulation, needs further investigation,” noted the study authors.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Stewart LK, Sarmiento EJ. Statin use is associated with reduced risk of recurrence in patients with venous thromboembolism. [published online March 11, 2020]. Am J Med. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.12.032