According to a new study, there is a large survival benefit in taking cholesterol-lowering drugs after a heart transplant. Researchers in Munich have studied the effect of taking simvastatin soon after a heart transplant. They looked at a group of 72 patients who had had heart transplants from 1992. Of these, 32 took the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin four days after treatment, while the others went on a strict low-cholesterol diet. Later, they too went on the statin drug.
There was a marked difference in survival between the two groups. The rate for the simvastatin group was 85.4 per cent and for those who did not go on simvastatin straight away the rate was 60.5 per cent. The researchers think the difference is due to the effect of statins on the arteries - reducing the thickening that tends to occur after a heart transplant.