Statin Effects in Atrial Fibrillation-Related Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Front Neurol. 2020 Oct 9;11:589684. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.589684. eCollection 2020.


Background: Statins lower the risk of recurrent stroke and mortality and improve outcomes in patients with ischemic stroke. However, the effects of statins on atrial fibrillation (AF)-related stroke are not well-established. Our study aims to investigate the effects of statin therapy on the clinical outcomes in patients with AF-related stroke. Methods: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus) were searched for previous studies on the effects of pre- and post-stroke statins on the clinical outcomes in AF-related stroke patients. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes included recurrent ischemic stroke, acute coronary events, major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), and short-term functional outcomes. We extracted hazard ratios (HRs) or odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence interval (CI) from each study and pooled them through a meta-analysis. Results: A total of eight studies (five on post-stroke statins and three on pre-stroke statins) with 12,216 patients were included in the analysis. Post-stroke statin therapy reduced the risk of all-cause mortality (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.55-0.74). This beneficial effect was sustained regardless of statin intensity. However, no significant associations were observed between statin therapy and a reduction in the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke, acute coronary events, or MACE. Pre-stroke statin use was associated with a lower risk of poor short-term functional outcomes (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.47-0.85). Conclusions: Statin therapy for AF-related stroke may reduce all-cause mortality and improve functional outcomes. Randomized controlled studies are warranted to confirm the effects of statins on the outcomes of AF-related stroke.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; functional outcome; meta-analysis; mortality; statins; stroke; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review