Statin therapy in critically-ill patients with severe sepsis: a review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

Minerva Anestesiol. 2015 Aug;81(8):921-30. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


While statins are indicated to reduce blood cholesterol levels, they also have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Several observational cohort studies suggested that statins may improve survival and reduce complications in patients with sepsis. Recent randomized controlled studies in critically ill patients have been conducted and published. In this paper we present a meta-analysis of these randomized trials.

Methods: An electronic article search through PubMed was performed. Only randomized controlled trials including critically ill adult patients with severe sepsis were retained. A meta-analysis was performed as detailed in text below. Overall analysis including 1818 patients total from 4 studies showed that there was no difference in 60-day mortality between statins (223/903) and placebo (233/899) [risk ratio, 0.930; 95% CI, 0.722 to 1.198]. Similarly, no difference in 28-day mortality was observed between groups (statins 191/907, placebo 199/911; risk ratio 0.953; 95% CI, 0.715 to 1.271). The results of this meta-analysis confirm that the use of statin therapy should not be recommended in the management of severe sepsis in critically ill patients. Statins should be continued with caution and only if necessary, as one study reported that the statin group had a higher rate of hepatic and renal failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sepsis / complications
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors