Layton JB, Hansen MK, Jakobsen CJ, Kshirsagar AV, Andreasen JJ, Hjortdal VE, Rasmussen BS, Simpson RJ, Brookhart MA, Christiansen CF. Statin initiation and acute kidney injury following elective cardiovascular surgery: a population cohort study in Denmark. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Mar;49(3):995-1000. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezv246.

OBJECTIVES: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious complication of cardiac surgery. Statins may prevent post-surgical AKI, yet methodological concerns about existing studies raise questions about the magnitude of a protective effect. We sought to determine the effect of initiating a statin prior to elective cardiac surgery on post-surgical AKI in a regional Danish surgical cohort.

METHODS: We identified adults who underwent cardiac surgery during 2006–11 using the Western Denmark Heart Registry. Presurgical medication use, pre- and post-surgical serum creatinine (sCr) measures, and other patient characteristics were obtained from Danish population-based registries. Post-surgical AKI was assessed using sCr measures within 5 days of surgery. The adjusted risk ratio (RR) of AKI and 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated for patients who initiated a statin within 100 days prior to surgery compared with patients without prior statin use; long-term statin users were excluded to reduce healthy-user bias. Subanalyses were stratified by surgery type: coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and non-CABG surgeries.

RESULTS: We identified 1929 CABG and 1775 non-CABG patients. AKI occurred in 25% of CABG and 28% of non-CABG surgeries, and in 29% of the non-users and 21% of the statin initiators. Half of CABG patients and 9% of non-CABG patients initiated a statin prior to surgery. The adjusted RRs for the effect of statin initiation on AKI were as follows: all surgeries combined, RR = 0.86 (95% CI: 0.74, 0.98); CABG, RR = 0.88 (0.74, 1.05); non-CABG RR = 0.87 (0.68, 1.11).

CONCLUSIONS: Presurgical statin initiation is associated with a reduction in AKI risk after cardiac surgery.

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