Over Half of Post Cardiac Bypass Patients Not Taking Recommended Statins and Aspirin

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Kevin Curl, MD Sidney Kimmel Medical College Jefferson University

Dr. Kevin Curl

Dr. Kevin Curl, MD
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Jefferson University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Curl: If left untreated, half of coronary bypass vein grafts will become occluded within 10 years of surgery.  We reviewed the health records of over 350 patients who had a previous coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) a minimum of three years prior.  Our goal was to identify the long-term trends with medication adherence in this high risk population, namely aspirin and statin medications.  The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend both statins and aspirin medications unless they are unsafe for the individual patient. The mean age of the study population was 69 years, most patients had previously undergone “triple bypass” with 3 grafts, and the mean time from surgery was 11 years.  We found that only 52 percent of patients were taking both aspirin and a statin medication. In addition, patients not taking a statin had higher (22 percent) low-density lipid or “bad” cholesterol.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Curl: This study confirms the significant under-utilization of both aspirin and statins in patients during long-term follow up after bypass surgery. This suggests complacency, not only among patients, but also among health care providers regarding the need to continue appropriate prevention measures after successful heart surgery.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Curl: Further studies are needed to better identify the reasons for noncompliance and to implement strategies to improve the long-term utilization of these essential medications. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Curl:     Both aspirin and statin medications are essential medications for all previous CABG patients, not only to help maintain graft patency, but also to prevent serious cardiac events.  In our study, 68% of patients presented with an acute myocardial infarction or other acute coronary syndrome event.  Our findings highlight the need for coordinated efforts in educating healthcare providers and patients to improve long-term medication usage in this high risk population.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Kevin Curl, Bryan LeBude, Nicholas Ruggiero, David Fischman, Andrew Rose, Sulay Patel, David Ogilby, Paul Walinsky, Babu Jasti, Michael Savage. Frequency of Use of Statins and Aspirin in Patients with Previous Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting. The American Journal of Cardiology, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.04.006

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Last Updated on May 5, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD