Statin therapy is associated with fewer infections after cardiac operations

Matteo Trezzi, Eugene H. Blackstone, Zhiyuan Sun, Liang Li, Joseph F. Sabik, Bruce W. Lytle, Steven M. Gordon, Colleen G. Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Statins interact with multiple pathways involved in infection. Therefore, we examined the association between preoperative statin therapy and infections after cardiac operations and assessed whether statin therapy was associated with lower infection-related mortality. Methods: From January 2005 to January 2011, 12,741 patients underwent cardiac operations. Endpoints were (1) postoperative infections and (2) mortality after an infectious complication. A propensity score was developed on the probability of patients receiving statin therapy; patients were matched in part on this score. A multivariable logistic model was developed to examine mortality. Survival of infected patients was estimated using Kaplan-Meier and multiphase hazard function methodology. Results: A total of 6,113 patients (48%) were receiving statins and 6,628 (52%) were not. Five hundred fifteen patients had postoperative infections - 260 (4.3%) in the statin group and 255 (3.8%) in the no-statin group. However, patients receiving statins were older with more comorbidities and less favorable operative characteristics. Among propensity-matched groups, postoperative infections were significantly lower in patients receiving statins (n = 102 [3.1%]) than in those who were not (n = 147 [4.5%]; p = 0.004). Among patients in whom infections developed, there was no significant difference in hospital mortality between the statin and no-statin groups either before or after propensity-score matching (odds ratio, 1.38; confidence limit [CL], 0.59, 3.22; p = 0.5). Conclusions: We observed a protective effect of statin therapy against the development of infections after cardiac operations, but not on mortality from these infections. Prospective investigations are needed to determine optimal dose and duration of statin therapy and their relationship to infectious complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-900
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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