Continuation of statins may improve survival following heart surgery, research shows

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Patients on statins should not stop taking the cholesterol-lowering medication before heart surgery—even on the day of surgery, according to an article posted online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. The new research shows that continuation of statins may significantly improve survival following the operation.

“Patients frequently forget to take their pills on the day of surgery, or they’ve been told to stop certain medications,” said Wei Pan, MD, a cardiovascular anesthesiologist at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. “This study shows that not taking your statin for even 1 day before cardiac surgery may increase your risk of death after surgery. Based on our findings, we would advise patients to continue taking their statin medication all the way up to and including the day of surgery.”

Dr. Pan and colleagues examined data from 3,025 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) between July 2005 and May 2011 at the Texas Heart Institute, Catholic Health Initiatives St. Luke’s Health-Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center to determine the optimal dose and timing of preoperative statin administration.

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