(HealthDay News) — Patients who take statins before and after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) have fewer complications and a reduced mortality risk during and soon after the operation, according to a new report published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

In a review of recent studies on the use of statins before and after CABG, researchers found that statins were associated with a 58% reduction in the incidence of atrial fibrillation. In addition, statins were associated with a 43% reduction in odds of dying in the hospital following the operation.

“We think statins have these effects because they reduce inflammation,” study author Islam Elgendy, MD, of the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Florida at Gainesville, told HealthDay. “Right after bypass surgery, there is intense inflammation of the heart. Perhaps starting statins 2 weeks before the surgery reduces the level of inflammation.”

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While the researchers found statins were well-tolerated by patients before CABG, they also found they are vastly underused. In one study reviewed by the team, only 37.3% of the patients were given statins before surgery.


  1. Barakat AF, Saad M, Abuzaid A, Mentias A, Mahmoud A, Elgendy IY. Perioperative Statin Therapy for Patients Undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting. Ann Thorac Surg. 2016;doi:10.1016/j.athoracsur.2015.09.070.