Statin Antiarrhythmic Effect on Atrial Fibrillation in Statin-Naive Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Mar;21(2):167-76. doi: 10.1177/1074248415602557. Epub 2015 Sep 1.


Background: Statin therapy has been thought to improve outcomes in cardiac surgeries. We aimed to determine the statin effects on the development of postoperative atrial fibrillation (AF), hospital length of stay (LOS), and inflammatory status in patients undergoing cardiac surgeries.

Methods: A systematic literature search in databases was performed, until January 2015. Randomized clinical trial (RCT) studies evaluating statin effect on statin-naive patients with sinus rhythm undergoing cardiac surgeries were eligible to be analyzed.

Results: Twelve RCTs involving 1116 patients, 559 receiving statin and 557 receiving control regimen, were analyzed. Postoperative AF occurred in 17.9% and 36.1% of patients in the statin and control groups, respectively. The statin therapy was associated with decreases in the postoperative AF (risk ratio [RR] 0.50, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.41-0.61, P < .000010), hospital LOS (mean difference in days, RR -0.44, 95% CI -0.67 to -0.20, P = .0002), and postoperative C-reactive protein (CRP) compared with control (mean difference in mg/L, RR -12.37, 95% CI -23.87 to -0.87, P = .04). The beneficial effects on AF and CRP were more marked in patients receiving atorvastatin compared to other statins. Decrease in postoperative AF was greater in coronary artery bypass graft surgery compared to that in isolated valvular surgery.

Conclusion: Perioperative statin therapy in statin-naive patients with sinus rhythm undergoing cardiac surgeries was associated with decreases in the development of postoperative AF, the hospital LOS, and the CRP level. However, there were insufficient data to provide evidences regarding statin impacts in patients undergoing isolated valvular surgery.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; cardiac surgery; inflammation; meta-analysis; statin.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / trends
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors