High-dose atorvastatin enhances impaired cerebral vasomotor reactivity

Alejandro Forteza, Jose G. Romano, Iszet Campo-Bustillo, Nelly Campo, Diogo C. Haussen, Jose Gutierrez, Sebastian Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The influence of statin therapy on cerebral vasomotor function has not been fully characterized. We report the effects of high-dose atorvastatin therapy on cerebral vasomotor reactivity (VMR) in patients with controlled hypertension and dyslipidemia. We prospectively enrolled 36 patients with controlled hypertension and a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration >100 mg/dL. Atorvastatin 80 mg was given daily for 6 months and then discontinued. VMR was assessed by hypercapnic and hypocapnic transcranial Doppler challenge in both the right and left middle cerebral artery (MCA) at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of therapy. Forty-five days after statin cessation, a repeat VMR was performed. VMR impairment was defined as ≤70%. Blood pressure, lipid levels, liver function, and creatine kinase level were monitored. Mean patient age was 60 years, 16 were men, and 13 had a previous history of subcortical infarction. Mean LDL cholesterol level before treatment was 154 ± 30 mg/dL. Atorvastatin lowered LDL by 53% at 3 months and by 46% at 6 months. Baseline VMR was 71% ± 21% in the right MCA and 70% ± 19% in the left MCA. No significant effect of atorvastatin on VMR was seen at 3 months and 6 months in the study population as a whole. In the subgroup of patients with baseline VMR impairment, atorvastatin therapy was associated with significantly improved VMR at both 3 and 6 months. This effect persisted for at least 45 days after discontinuation of therapy. Our findings indicate that high-dose atorvastatin therapy can significantly improve impaired cerebral VMR, and that the effects of atorvastatin on VMR persist for 1.5 months after discontinuation of therapy. We found no benefit of atorvastatin therapy in patients with preserved baseline vasoreactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-492
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Cerebrovascular reactivity
  • statins - HMG-CoA
  • transcranial Doppler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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