Perioperative statin therapy reduces mortality in normolipidemic patients undergoing cardiac surgery

Muthiah Vaduganathan, Neil J. Stone, Richard Lee, Edwin C. McGee, S. Chris Malaisrie, Robert A. Silverberg, Patrick M. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: Statins might have pleiotropic effects, independent of their ability to reduce lipid levels. Recent data have suggested that statins improve early survival and cardiovascular outcomes after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The effectiveness of statin therapy in normolipidemic cardiac surgery patients is as yet unclear. Methods: We evaluated 3056 consecutive patients who had undergone cardiac surgery between April 2004 and April 2009. Perioperative statin therapy was defined as continued treatment both before (≥ 6 months) and after the index surgery (included as a discharge medication). Hyperlipidemia (HL) was defined as a total cholesterol level greater than 200 mg/dL within 6 months before surgery. Four groups were analyzed: (1) statin-untreated normolipidemic (NL-, n = 1052); (2) statin-treated normolipidemic (NL+, n = 206); (3) statin-untreated hyperlipidemic (HL-, n = 638); and (4) statin-treated hyperlipidemic (HL+, n = 1160) patients. Adjusted hazard ratios accounted for the known preoperative cardiac risk factors. Mortality was ascertained by retrospective database review and the Social Security Death Index. Results: The mean follow-up was 2.2 years. The crude rate of 30-day mortality was 3.0% (32/1052), 0% (0/206), 8.0% (51/638), and 0.7% (8/1160) for the NL-, NL+, HL-, and HL+ groups, respectively. The overall all-cause crude mortality rate was 9.6% (101/1052), 3.9% (8/206), 17.2% (110/638), and 6.5% (75/1160) for the NL-, NL+, HL-, and HL+ groups, respectively. Statin therapy for NL patients undergoing cardiac surgery independently reduced the overall all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.34; 95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.71; P = .004). Conclusions: Perioperative statin therapy was associated with reduced mid-term mortality for patients undergoing cardiac surgery, irrespective of their baseline lipid status. This clinical evidence suggests that the beneficial effects of statins might extend beyond their lipid-lowering ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1027
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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