Statin use in COPD patients is associated with a reduction in mortality: a national cohort study

Prim Care Respir J. 2012 Mar;21(1):35-40. doi: 10.4104/pcrj.2011.00095.


Aims: To assess whether statin use is associated with reduced mortality in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: Hospitalisation, drug dispensing, and mortality records were linked for New Zealanders aged 50-80 years discharged from hospital with a first admission with COPD in 2006. Patients were classified according to whether or not they were prescribed statins prior to admission. Baseline characteristics were compared and hazard ratios calculated for statin users versus statin non-users for all-cause mortality over follow-up of up to 4 years.

Results: A total of 1,687 patients (mean age 70.6 years) were followed, including 596 statin users and 1,091 non-users. There were more men in the statin user group (58.4% vs. 48.5%), and statin users were more likely to have a history of cardiovascular disease (58.6% vs. 25.1%), prescription for frusemide as a proxy for heart failure (47.7% vs. 24.5%) or diabetes (35.4% vs.11.6%) than statin non-users (p<0.001). A total of 671 deaths occurred during the follow-up period. After adjustment for age, sex, ethnic group, history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and prescription for frusemide, the hazard ratio for statin users vs. statin non-users for all-cause mortality was 0.69 (95% CI 0.58 to 0.84).

Conclusions: Statin use is associated with a 30% reduction in all-cause mortality at 3-4 years after first admission for COPD, irrespective of a past history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atorvastatin
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality*
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin
  • Simvastatin