Statins are widely used to lower cholesterol and prevent complications of cardiovascular disease. The non-lipid lowering (pleiotropic) effects of statins may also have applications to the management of infections. These include effects on endothelial function, inflammation and coagulation pathways. Several observational studies have shown a significant reduction in 30-day mortality associated with prior statin therapy in hospitalised patients with sepsis and community acquired pneumonia. This article explores the evidence for statins as novel therapy in community acquired pneumonia. Experimental and animal studies suggest statins attenuate acute lung injury by modulating neutrophil function, reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine release and reducing vascular leak. Statins reduce endothelial dysfunction and have anti-thrombotic effects that improve outcome from pneumonia and sepsis in animal models. Clinical studies have provided conflicting results, but many suggest that statins may have a role in preventing pneumonia, or improving prognosis in hospitalised patients with community-acquired pneumonia.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.