The effect of statins on mortality from severe infections and sepsis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Crit Care. 2010 Dec;25(4):656.e7-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2010.02.013. Epub 2010 Apr 22.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature on the effect of statins on mortality in patients with infection and/or sepsis.

Materials and methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PapersFirst, and the Cochrane collaboration and the Cochrane Register of controlled trials were searched and were current as of December 2009. Randomized, double-blind or single-blind, placebo-controlled studies; observational cohort studies (retrospective and prospective); and case-controlled studies were included. Types of participants included adult and pediatric subjects with sepsis or various other types of infection. Exposure was defined as the use of a statin for any indication. The primary outcome chosen was mortality from any cause, and secondary outcomes included 30-day mortality, in-hospital mortality, mortality from pneumonia, mortality from bacteremia, mortality from sepsis, and mortality from mixed infection.

Results: A total of 20 studies were included in the analysis, 18 being cohort studies (12 retrospective, 6 prospective), 1 matched cohort study with 2 case-control studies, and 1 randomized control trial. Meta-analysis for various infection-related outcomes revealed the following pooled odds ratios all in favor of statin use vs non: 0.61 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-0.73) for 30-day mortality (n = 7), 0.38 (95% CI, 0.13-0.64) for in-hospital mortality (n = 7), 0.63 (95% CI, 0.55-0.71) for pneumonia-related mortality (n = 7), 0.33 (95% CI, 0.09-0.75) for bacteremia-related mortality (n = 4), 0.40 (95% CI, 0.23-0.57) for sepsis-related mortality (n = 4), and 0.50 (95% CI, 0.18-0.83) for mixed infection-related mortality (n = 4).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis demonstrated a protective effect for statins in patients with sepsis and/or other infections compared to placebo for various infection-related outcomes. However, our results are limited by the cohort design of the selected studies and the degree of heterogeneity among them, and as a result, further randomized trials are needed to validate the use of statins for sepsis and/or other infections.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / mortality
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents