The results of a recent study showed that statins canreduce the risk of severe infection in patients suffering fromheart disease and stroke. Researchers said that the drugs cuthospital admissions for sepsis by almost 20% in patients whohad been treated previously for cardiovascular disease. Thefindings were reported in the January 25, 2006, on-line editionof the medical journal The Lancet.
The study involved 69,168 elderly patients who wereadmitted to the hospital for acute coronary syndrome,stroke, or a revascularization procedure. Upon dismissalfrom the hospital, more than 34,000 patients were prescribeda statin within 90 days, while an equal number werenot. After 2 years, 551 patients who had been taking thestatins were admitted back to the hospital for sepsis, comparedwith 667 who had not taken these drugs.
According to the researchers, "the use of statins inpatients older than 65 years old with atherosclerosis . . . wasassociated with a 19% reduced risk of sepsis." They alsocalled for more clinical trials to test the effectiveness ofstatins against sepsis. If the finding is replicated in othertrials, the researchers believe that the use of statins may beimportant in reducing the risk of sepsis in any patient undergoingcomplex surgery. In addition, patients undergoing highrisksurgery should consider taking statins to prevent sepsis.