Statin Use and Leg Functioning in Patients With and Without Lower-Extremity Peripheral Arterial Disease
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Background— We determined whether statin use (versus nonuse) is associated with superior lower-extremity functioning independently of cholesterol levels and other confounders in patients with and without peripheral arterial disease.
Methods and Results— Participants included 392 men and women with an ankle brachial index (ABI) <0.90 and 249 with ABI 0.90 to 1.50. Functional outcomes included 6-minute walk distance and 4-meter walking velocity. A summary performance score combined performance in walking speed, standing balance, and time for 5 repeated chair rises into an ordinal score ranging from 0 to 12 (12=best). Adjusting for age, sex, ABI, comorbidities, education level, medical insurance status, cholesterol, and other confounders, participants taking statins had better 6-minute walk performance (1276 versus 1218 feet, P=0.045), faster walking velocity (0.93 versus 0.89 m/s, P=0.006), and a higher summary performance score (10.2 versus 9.4, P<0.001) than participants not taking statins. Positive associations were attenuated slightly after additional adjustment for C-reactive protein level but remained statistically significant for walking velocity and the summary performance score. We did not find significant associations between lower-extremity functioning and aspirin, ACE inhibitors, vasodilators, or β-blockers.
Conclusions— Statin use is associated with superior leg functioning compared with no statin use, independent of cholesterol levels and other potential confounders. These data suggest that non–cholesterol-lowering properties of statins may favorably influence functioning in persons with and without peripheral arterial disease.
Received August 27, 2002; revision received October 14, 2002; accepted October 21, 2002.