Statins increase risk of postoperative delirium in elderly patients

September 22, 2008,

The use of statins is associated with a 28% increased risk of postoperative delirium in elderly patients, found University of Toronto professor Dr. Donald Redelmeier and colleagues in a retrospective cohort analysis involving more than 280 000 patients.

Ontario's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) looked at elderly patients who underwent elective surgery in Ontario and who had received 2 or more prescriptions for statins in the year before surgery, including at least one prescription in the 90 days preceding surgery. Many patients took multiple medications, underwent abdominal, musculoskeletal or urogenital surgery which had a mean duration of about 115 minutes.

Delirium, in addition to causing anxiety in patients and families, contributes to longer hospital stays, a prolonged need for intensive care, and can disrupt and delay care.

They found that 1 in 14 elderly patients were taking statins before surgery and 1 in 90 experienced delirium. Longer surgeries and age over 70 years increased the risk of delirium.

"Our results suggest that this association was more than a coincidence, particularly among patients who received higher doses of statins and had longer duration noncardiac surgeries," state Dr. Redelmeier and colleagues. "The association between statins and risk of delirium was distinct and was not observed with other lipid-lowering medications, cardiovascular medications or common drugs that reflect underlying chronic diseases but have no major effects on the cardiovascular system."

The researchers suggest patients temporarily stop taking statins before surgery to lower their risk. If needed, restarting statins after surgery might provide their heart protecting benefits without the risk of delirium.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal

Explore further: AHA names top heart disease and stroke research advances of 2017

Related Stories

AHA names top heart disease and stroke research advances of 2017

February 8, 2018
New medicines to fight heart disease, updated guidelines for strokes and high blood pressure, and research into genome editing are among the top heart disease and stroke advances in 2017, according to the American Heart Association ...

HDL and kidney injury after surgery

January 18, 2018
Higher concentrations of high-density lipoproteins—HDL, the "good" cholesterol—may be protective against acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac surgery, Vanderbilt researchers have discovered. AKI affects up to 30 percent ...

Statins to prevent scar tissue in the eye?

January 18, 2018
According to a Finnish study, statin medication seems to reduce the risk of repeated surgery in patients who undergo a vitrectomy to treat a detached retina. The researchers believe that statins might prevent the formation ...

Women at greater risk after heart attacks: study

January 8, 2018
Fewer women who suffer a heart attack each year in the UK would die if they were simply given the same treatments as men, according to new research.

High-dose statin may protect heart surgery patients' kidney health

January 20, 2015
Acute kidney injury often arises after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of normal blood flow during the procedure. The use of contrast media, or dyes, can contribute to this problem.

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 ...

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
not rated yet Sep 23, 2008
Statins inhibit the formation cholesterol in the body and thus in the brain. It follows that when enough of this building block is removed from the brain it cannot function properly. Thus this report and the reported side effect of amnesia after taking a dose of statin.

I have to ask why, after all these years and still NO evidence of ANY medical benefit, are elderly people still prescribed life time statin therapy?

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.