Aim: Central pulse pressure and measures of arterial stiffness (augmentation index (AIx) and aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV)) predict morbidity and mortality in patients with stage 2-4 chronic kidney disease (CKD). Although statin therapy may be of vascular benefit in patients with CKD, the long-term effect of statins on central pulse pressure and arterial stiffness has not been assessed in this patient population. Hence, the aim of this study was to assess the long-term effects of atorvastatin on arterial stiffness and central blood pressure in patients with CKD.
Methods: We enrolled 37 patients with serum creatinine levels > 1.36 mg/dL into a randomized, double blind trial. Patients were allocated to receive 10 mg of atorvastatin per day (19) or placebo (18) for three years. Aortic PWV, AIx, estimated central and brachial blood pressures and were determined every nine months.
Results: At baseline, there were no significant differences in aortic PWV, AIx, central or brachial blood pressures between atorvastatin-treated and placebo-treated patients. During the trial, aortic PWV significantly (p=0.05) increased in placebo-treated, but not (p=0.10) in atorvastatin-treated patients (0.51±0.95 vs. 0.30±0.75 m/sec/yr; p=0.48). This represented a 41% (but not statistically significant) slowing of the rate of increase in aortic stiffness. There were no significant changes between groups in the rate of change of AIx (atorvastatin -0.15±5.65 vs. placebo 0.39±5.38%/yr, p=0.53) or central pulse pressure (atorvastatin -2.32±7.46 vs. placebo -0.36±6.64 mmHg/yr p= 0.61).
Conclusion: In patients with CKD arterial stiffness measured by aortic PWV showed a significant increase over time in placebo-treated patients but not in atorvastatin-treated patients.