Perioperative Rosuvastatin in Cardiac Surgery

N Engl J Med. 2016 May 5;374(18):1744-53. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1507750.


Background: Complications after cardiac surgery are common and lead to substantial increases in morbidity and mortality. Meta-analyses of small randomized trials have suggested that perioperative statin therapy can prevent some of these complications.

Methods: We randomly assigned 1922 patients in sinus rhythm who were scheduled for elective cardiac surgery to receive perioperative rosuvastatin (at a dose of 20 mg daily) or placebo. The primary outcomes were postoperative atrial fibrillation within 5 days after surgery, as assessed by Holter electrocardiographic monitoring, and myocardial injury within 120 hours after surgery, as assessed by serial measurements of the cardiac troponin I concentration. Secondary outcomes included major in-hospital adverse events, duration of stay in the hospital and intensive care unit, left ventricular and renal function, and blood biomarkers.

Results: The concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and C-reactive protein after surgery were lower in patients assigned to rosuvastatin than in those assigned to placebo (P<0.001). However, the rate of postoperative atrial fibrillation did not differ significantly between the rosuvastatin group and the placebo group (21.1% and 20.5%, respectively; odds ratio 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.30; P=0.72), nor did the area under the troponin I-release curve (102 ng×hour per milliliter and 100 ng×hour per milliliter, respectively; between-group difference, 1%; 95% CI, -9 to 13; P=0.80). Subgroup analyses did not indicate benefit in any category of patient. Rosuvastatin therapy did not result in beneficial effects on any of the secondary outcomes but was associated with a significant absolute (±SE) excess of 5.4±1.9 percentage points in the rate of postoperative acute kidney injury (P=0.005).

Conclusions: In this trial, perioperative statin therapy did not prevent postoperative atrial fibrillation or perioperative myocardial damage in patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery. Acute kidney injury was more common with rosuvastatin. (Funded by the British Heart Foundation and others; STICS number, NCT01573143.).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced
  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / prevention & control*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perioperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium / adverse effects
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium / therapeutic use*
  • Troponin I / blood


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Troponin I
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium
  • C-Reactive Protein

Associated data