Statins are associated with a reduced incidence of perioperative mortality in patients undergoing major noncardiac vascular surgery

Circulation. 2003 Apr 15;107(14):1848-51. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000066286.15621.98. Epub 2003 Apr 14.


Background: Patients undergoing major vascular surgery are at increased risk of perioperative mortality due to underlying coronary artery disease. Inhibitors of the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (statins) may reduce perioperative mortality through the improvement of lipid profile, but also through the stabilization of coronary plaques on the vascular wall.

Methods and results: To evaluate the association between statin use and perioperative mortality, we performed a case-controlled study among the 2816 patients who underwent major vascular surgery from 1991 to 2000 at the Erasmus Medical Center. Case subjects were all 160 (5.8%) patients who died during the hospital stay after surgery. From the remaining patients, 2 controls were selected for each case and were stratified according to calendar year and type of surgery. For cases and controls, information was obtained regarding statin use before surgery, the presence of cardiac risk factors, and the use of other cardiovascular medication. A vascular complication during the perioperative phase was the primary cause of death in 104 (65%) case subjects. Statin therapy was significantly less common in cases than in controls (8% versus 25%; P<0.001). The adjusted odds ratio for perioperative mortality among statin users as compared with nonusers was 0.22 (95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.47). Similar results were obtained in subgroups of patients according to the use of cardiovascular therapy and the presence of cardiac risk factors.

Conclusions: This case-controlled study provides evidence that statin use reduces perioperative mortality in patients undergoing major vascular surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / mortality*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors