Pre-operative statins can help patients who undergo heart surgery

April 17, 2012

Pre-operative statin therapy can reduce the chance of post-operative atrial fibrillation and shortens the stay on the intensive care unit (ICU) and in the hospital in patients who undergo cardiac surgery, according to a new systematic review by Cochrane researchers. However, statin pre-treatment had no influence on the risk of dying, stroke, heart attack or kidney failure around the time of the operation.

Statins are known to help lower the levels of lipids in people's blood. This in turn reduces the risk of patients with dying. Before this study, it was unclear whether patients who are about to undergo heart surgery would also benefit if they took statins before the operation.

A team of researchers based at the University of Cologne in Germany, analysed data found in 11 randomized controlled studies. These studies included a total of 984 participants who were undergoing different forms of heart surgery.

They found that giving statins before surgery reduced the incidence of post-operative , suggesting a beneficial effect for patients with a statin treatment when compared to patients without a statin therapy. In addition, they discovered that patients who had statins before the operation tended to leave the ICU about three-and-a half hours earlier, and left hospital about half a day earlier. There was, however, no significant reduction in the proportion of people who had a heart attack or subsequently. Furthermore, statins had no effect on the number of people who died or had a stroke soon after the operation.

The researchers point to one limitation of their findings. "Since the data we analysed had come mainly from patients having operations, the results cannot be extrapolated to patients undergoing other cardiac procedures such as heart valve or aortic surgery," says lead researcher Oliver J. Liakopoulos, who works in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cologne's Heart Centre.

At the same time, the researchers emphasise the need for more data. "To get a clearer picture of the potential benefits of taking statins before a heart operation, we need to have more clinical trials and find out whether clinical outcomes can be further improved if patients use special statin dosing regimens shortly before a heart procedure," says Liakopoulos.

Explore further: Statins may protect against kidney complications following elective surgery

More information: Liakopoulos OJ, Kuhn EW, Slottosch I, Wassmer G,Wahlers T. Preoperative statin therapy for patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD008493. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008493.pub2

Related Stories

Study finds no link between statins and cancer risk

July 25, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that, contrary to previous studies, the use of cholesterol reducing statin drugs does not increase the risk of patients ...

Recommended for you

No new heart muscle cells in mice after the newborn period

November 5, 2015

A new study from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet shows that new heart muscle cells in mice are mainly formed directly after birth. After the neonatal period the number of heart muscle cells does not change, and A new study ...

Nanotechnology could spur new heart treatment

October 29, 2015

A new nanoparticle developed by University of Michigan researchers could be the key to a targeted therapy for cardiac arrhythmia, a condition that causes the heart to beat erratically and can lead to heart attack and stroke.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.