Impact of preoperative statin therapy on adverse postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac surgery: a meta-analysis of over 30 000 patients

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To determine the strength of evidence for preoperative statin use for prevention of adverse postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

Methods and results

After literature search in major databases, 19 studies were identified [three RCT (randomized prospective clinical trials), 16 observational] that reported outcomes of 31 725 cardiac surgery patients with (n=17 201; 54%) or without (n=14 524; 46%) preoperative statin therapy. Outcomes that were analysed included early all-cause mortality (30-day mortality), myocardial infarction (MI), atrial fibrillation (AF), stroke and renal failure. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were reported using fixed or random effect models and publication bias was assessed. Preoperative statin therapy resulted in a 1.5% absolute risk reduction (2.2 vs. 3.7%; P < 0.0001) and 43% odds reduction for early all-cause mortality (OR 0.57; 95%CI: 0.49–0.67). A significant reduction (P < 0.01) in statin pretreated patients was also observed for AF (24.9 vs. 29.3%; OR 0.67, 95%CI: 0.51–0.88), stroke (2.1 vs. 2.9%, OR 0.74, 95%CI: 0.60–0.91), but not for MI (OR 1.11; 95%CI: 0.93–1.33) or renal failure (OR 0.78, 95%CI: 0.46–1.31). Funnel plot and Egger’s regression analysis (P=0.60) excluded relevant publication bias.


Our meta-analysis provides evidence that preoperative statin therapy exerts substantial clinical benefit on early postoperative adverse outcomes in cardiac surgery patients, but underscores the need for RCT trials.

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