Background: Statins have neuroprotective effects against ischemic stroke. However, associations between pre-stroke statin treatment and initial stroke severity and between the treatment and functional outcome remain controversial. This study aimed at determining these associations in ischemic stroke patients. Methods: Among patients registered in the Fukuoka Stroke Registry from June 2007 to October 2014, 3,848 patients with ischemic stroke within 24 h of onset, who had been functionally independent before onset, were enrolled in this study. Ischemic stroke was classified as cardioembolic or non-cardioembolic infarction. Primary and secondary study outcomes were mild neurological symptoms defined as a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of ≤4 on admission and favorable functional outcome defined as a modified Rankin Scale score of ≤2 at discharge, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to quantify associations between pre-stroke statin treatment and study outcomes. Results: Of all 3,848 participants, 697 (18.1%) were taking statins prior to the stroke. The frequency of mild neurological symptoms was significantly higher in patients with pre-stroke statin treatment (64.1%) than in those without the treatment (58.3%, p < 0.01). Multivariable analysis showed that pre-stroke statin treatment was significantly associated with mild neurological symptoms (OR 1.31; 95% CI 1.04-1.65; p < 0.01). Sensitivity analysis in patients with dyslipidemia (n = 1,998) also showed the same trend between pre-stroke statin treatment and mild neurological symptoms (multivariable-adjusted OR 1.26; 95% CI 0.99-1.62; p = 0.06). In contrast, the frequency of favorable functional outcome was not different between patients with (67.0%) and without (65.3%) the treatment (p = 0.40). Multivariable analysis also showed no significant association between pre-stroke statin treatment and favorable functional outcome (OR 1.21; 95% CI 0.91-1.60; p = 0.19). Continuation of statin treatment, however, was significantly associated with favorable functional outcome among patients with pre-stroke statin treatment (multivariable-adjusted OR 2.17; 95% CI 1.16-4.00; p = 0.02). Conclusions: Pre-stroke statin treatment in ischemic stroke patients was significantly associated with mild neurological symptoms within 24 h of onset. Pre-stroke statin treatment per se did not significantly influence the short-term functional outcome; however, continuation of statin treatment during the acute stage of stroke seems to relate with favorable functional outcome for patients with pre-stroke statin treatment.
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