Impact of statins on progression of atherosclerosis: Rationale and design of SATURN (Study of Coronary Atheroma by InTravascular Ultrasound: Effect of Rosuvastatin versus AtorvastatiN)

Stephen J. Nicholls, Marilyn Borgman, Steven E. Nissen, Joel S. Raichlen, Christie Ballantyne, Philip Barter, M. John Chapman, Raimund Erbel, Peter Libby

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous imaging studies have demonstrated that the beneficial impact of high-dose statins on the progression of coronary atherosclerosis associates with their ability to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and C-reactive protein (CRP) and to raise high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The Study of Coronary Atheroma by InTravascular Ultrasound: Effect of Rosuvastatin versus AtorvastatiN (SATURN, NCT00620542) aims to compare the effects of high-dose atorvastatin and rosuvastatin on disease progression. Methods: A total of 1385 subjects with established coronary artery disease (CAD) on angiography were randomized to receive rosuvastatin 40mg or atorvastatin 80mg for 24 months. The primary efficacy parameter will be the nominal change in percent atheroma volume (PAV), determined by analysis of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) images of matched coronary artery segments acquired at baseline and at 24-month follow-up. The effect of statin therapy on plasma lipids and inflammatory markers, and the incidence of clinical cardiovascular events will also be assessed. The study does not have the statistical power to directly compare the treatment groups with regard to clinical events. Conclusion: Serial IVUS has emerged as a sensitive imaging modality to assess the impact of treatments on arterial structure. In this study, IVUS will be used to determine whether high-dose statins have different effects on plaque progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1129
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Intravascular ultrasound
  • Lipids
  • Statins

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