Long-Term Effects of Cholesterol Lowering and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibition on Coronary Atherosclerosis
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BACKGROUND: This long-term, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2 x 2 factorial, angiographic trial evaluated the effects of cholesterol lowering and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition on coronary atherosclerosis in normocholesterolemic patients. METHODS AND RESULTS: There were a total of 460 patients: 230 received simvastatin and 230, a simvastatin placebo, and 229 received enalapril and 231, an enalapril placebo (some subjects received both drugs and some received a double placebo). Mean baseline measurements were as follows: cholesterol level, 5.20 mmol/L; triglyceride level, 1.82 mmol/L; HDL, 0.99 mmol/L; and LDL, 3.36 mmol/L. Average follow-up was 47.8 months. Changes in quantitative coronary angiographic measures between simvastatin and placebo, respectively, were as follows: mean diameters, -0.07 versus -0.14 mm (P:=0.004); minimum diameters, -0.09 versus -0.16 mm (P:=0. 0001); and percent diameter stenosis, 1.67% versus 3.83% (P:=0.0003). These benefits were not observed in patients on enalapril when compared with placebo. No additional benefits were seen in the group receiving both drugs. Simvastatin patients had less need for percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (8 versus 21 events; P:=0.020), and fewer enalapril patients experienced the combined end point of death/myocardial infarction/stroke (16 versus 30; P:=0.043) than their respective placebo patients. CONCLUSIONS: This trial extends the observation of the beneficial angiographic effects of lipid-lowering therapy to normocholesterolemic patients. The implications of the neutral angiographic effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition are uncertain, but they deserve further investigation in light of the positive clinical benefits suggested here and seen elsewhere.
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