Beneficial effects of perioperative statins for major pulmonary resection

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2015 Jun;149(6):1532-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.12.016. Epub 2014 Dec 18.


Objectives: Statins improve overall outcomes after noncardiac surgery. The primary aim of the study was to determine whether use of perioperative atorvastatin reduced the rate of postoperative complications in patients undergoing pulmonary resection.

Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of patients undergoing elective pulmonary resection who received atorvastatin (40 mg daily) or placebo beginning 1 week before surgery and continued for 1 week postoperatively. Patient characteristics and postoperative complications were recorded. Plasma inflammatory markers were sampled at baseline, in the post-anesthesia care unit, and on postoperative day 3. Because of difficulty enrolling statin-naive patients, the study was stopped at the interim analysis.

Results: Postoperative complications occurred in 16 of 72 patients (22%) receiving placebo and in 8 of 65 patients (12%) receiving atorvastatin (P = .13). For patients undergoing major anatomic resection, there were 24 complications in 15 of 45 placebo-treated patients and 8 complications in 7 of 43 atorvastatin-treated patients (P = .04). Plasma levels of C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-α, and myeloperoxidase did not differ between the 2 treatment arms during the study.

Conclusions: After a 2-week perioperative course of atorvastatin (40 mg) in statin-naïve patients undergoing major pulmonary resection, we found evidence of a reduction in the number of clinically important cardiovascular and pulmonary complications compared with placebo. These promising results merit evaluation in a larger, perhaps multicenter study.

Trial registration: NCT00375518.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atorvastatin
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Heptanoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Perioperative Care
  • Pneumonectomy / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications / blood
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pyrroles / administration & dosage*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin

Associated data