Statins in the intensive care unit

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Purpose of review

Statins are effective lipid-lowering agents used extensively in medical practice. This review summarizes the evidence for statin treatment of cardiovascular patients in the intensive care unit and briefly discusses the role of statins in prevention and treatment of sepsis as a potential future application of statins in critical care.

Recent findings

Recent studies have extended the use of statin therapy to the acute manifestations of cardiovascular disease and have suggested cholesterol-independent therapeutic benefits, termed pleiotropic effects, which have added a wide scope of potential targets for statin therapy.


Statin therapy should be continued in intensive-care patients in whom statin therapy is warranted due to underlying cardiovascular disease or significant risk thereof. In acute coronary syndromes, statin therapy should be initiated within 24–96 h regardless of pretreatment cholesterol levels. Patients undergoing vascular surgery should receive peri-operative statin therapy. Placebo-controlled clinical trials are required to consolidate the experimental and observational evidence for prevention and treatment of sepsis.

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