HMG-CoA (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) are well-established therapies in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, reducing all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events in many disease states. Studies have also suggested that statins given to patients after myocardial infarction improve event-free survival even in short time frames; however, evidence for the benefit of statins in established HF (heart failure) has not been demonstrated with the same rigour of a randomized clinical trial setting. In fact, clinical data examining the effect of statins in HF have been limited by the retrospective or observational nature of these analyses, examination of incompletely validated surrogate end points, small prospective studies in subgroups of HF subjects, and non-uniform doses and different statins being used. In this review, we examine the evidence for the effect of statins on mortality in HF, taking into account theoretical arguments, appropriateness of surrogate markers, animal data and analysis of the predominantly retrospective clinical data that is currently available.

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