Statins Reduce Delirium Risk After Cardiac Surgery

Risk reduced most in elderly patients

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Statin treatment before cardiac bypass surgery reduces the risk of postoperative delirium, particularly in elderly patients, according to a report in the January issue of Anesthesiology.

Rita Katznelson, M.D., from Toronto General Hospital in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues examined the association between preoperative statin treatment and postoperative delirium using data collected prospectively from 1,059 patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Of these, 63.8 percent had received statins preoperatively.

The researchers found that 11.5 percent of patients experienced delirium during their stay in the cardiovascular intensive care unit. Statin treatment was associated with a 46 percent reduction in the likelihood of delirium after adjusting for factors such as older age, preoperative depression, complex cardiac surgery and massive blood transfusion. The protective effect was particularly pronounced among patients aged 60 years or older, who were also more likely to receive preoperative statins, the report indicates.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report identifying an association between preoperative statin therapy and postoperative delirium in a cardiac surgical population. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial would be required to validate these findings," Katznelson and colleagues conclude.

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