Cholesterol-lowering medication statin intake before and after heart surgery might reduce complications and risk of death, according to a survey.
A panel of researchers set out to look at the effects of widely used statins on cardiac surgery outcomes. Dr. Amr Barakat and his colleagues wanted to investigate whether to stop statin use before and after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery was beneficial or if a continued program of the drugs might improve patient outcomes.
Heart surgery candidates often have a number of prescriptions due to their several medical issues. Some medications can have negative interactions with the anesthetic used during the operation. That is why before the surgery, it is recommended that many medications are stopped, including statins.
The review consisting of 21 published studies found that continuing to take statins before and after coronary artery bypass surgery reduced complications and lowered the risk of death. Apart from reducing cholesterol, statins also have anti-inflammatory properties and promote blood flow: this could be the origin of their beneficial outcomes.
“Previous research has shown that discontinuation of the medication at the time of surgery is common practice,” said Dr. Barakat, a lead researcher from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. The results of our review call for proactive efforts to counsel patients and surgeons about the benefit of statins – a benefit that definitely outweighs the risk of rare potential side effects.”
Statins reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme that plays a central role in the production of cholesterol. This class of drugs has been found to reduce cardiovascular disease and mortality in those who are at risk. Statins are believed to break down and reabsorb cholesterol plaques that might have encircled around the blood vessels. IMAGE/Alamy