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Findings Support Preoperative Statin Therapy in Coronary Bypass Patients

San Diego — (October 19, 2010) 

Findings from a study presented at this year’s American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting reveal that patients who undergo preoperative statin therapy prior to coronary bypass surgery have a better survival rate.

Statins are drugs typically prescribed to patients with high cholesterol levels. However, they also are shown to be beneficial in reducing inflammation, blood clots and plaques in the arteries. Some positive effects usually occur three to four weeks after statin therapy is started.

"After coronary bypass surgery, patients are especially vulnerable to postoperative graft thromboses," said presenting study author Tuula S. Kurki, M.D, Head of the Preoperative Clinic, Helsinki University Hospital, Finland. "Since statins are proven to help patients who have ischemic heart disease and stenosis in their coronary arteries, it is important to document whether statin therapy prior to surgery can have a positive impact on the recovery and survival rate of coronary bypass patients."

About the Study

In this observational prospective study, 1,034 elective coronary bypass patients in a single academic hospital were observed. A total of 703 patients received preoperative statin therapy, while the remaining 331 patients received no preoperative statin therapy.

Results showed the one-year mortality rate in patients who received statin therapy prior to surgery was 3.98 percent, while the one-year mortality rate for patients who received no statin therapy preoperatively was significantly higher at 10.9 percent. These findings show a positive association of preoperative statin therapy with a better one-year outcome in coronary bypass patients.

Risk factors for mortality among the patients observed also were analyzed, including impaired renal function, left ventricular failure, older age (above 75 years old), chest pain in minimal physical stress or at rest, and the lack of statin therapy.

"Based on the findings, it was determined that when 15 patients receive preoperative statin therapy an additional life will be saved during the first year after coronary bypass surgery," explained Dr. Kurki. "While these findings support the idea that preoperative statin therapy may provide a long-term survival benefit for coronary bypass patients, it is important for patients to weigh the benefits and risks of statin therapy with their doctor to determine their best preoperative plan."


Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at . To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook , follow ASALifeline on Twitter and follow ASA on LinkedIn .



American Society of Anesthesiologists