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Statins Not Associated With Surgical Site Infections

No increased or decreased risk apparent among elderly patients undergoing elective surgery

THURSDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly patients who undergo elective surgery, statin use is not associated with an increased or decreased risk of surgical site infection, according to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Nick Daneman, M.D., of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and colleagues studied 469,349 patients -- 68,387 (14.6 percent) of them statin users -- who underwent elective surgery between 1992 and 2006. They compared outcomes in 53,565 statin users matched to 53,565 non-users who underwent the same procedure in the same hospital by the same surgeon.

The researchers' unadjusted analysis showed that the infection rate was slightly higher among statin users than non-users (8.9 versus 8.7 percent). However, after adjusting for factors such as demographics, health care utilization variables, and comorbidities, they found no group difference in the risk of infection (odds ratio, 1.0). They also found no association between statin use and the risk of infection after matching was extended to include propensity scores (odds ratio, 0.99).

"The decision of whether or not to continue statin therapy, therefore, should be determined by other statin benefits (e.g., vascular protection and sepsis prevention) and risks (e.g., hepatitis and rhabdomyolysis)," the authors conclude. "Meanwhile, efforts to prevent surgical site infection should be directed toward other preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative strategies. Although statin pleiotropy is not the answer, other innovative methods are needed to reduce the burden of these iatrogenic infections."

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