Statins May Actually Help Bypass Recovery

Doctors often advise people undergoing heart bypass surgery to stop taking statin medications. Now a study published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery suggests that may not be such a good idea.

While physicians generally have cited potential adverse effects of taking statins around bypass surgery, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Florida analyzed 21 studies and instead found that remaining on statins before and after coronary artery bypass surgery actually reduced complications and lowered the risk of death for patients.

Statins are use to reduce cholesterol levels in the body.

Some studies found that statin use reduced the likelihood of irregular heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation. Others found that statins reduced the incidence of stroke and heart attack and lowered the risk of postoperative kidney injuries.

The precise mechanism is unclear, but cardiac surgery -- especially with prolonged anesthesia -- significantly increases inflammation, and statins may help control it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cholesterol-lowering medication is used by 28 percent of Americans over the age of 40, and statins account for more than 90 percent of these drugs.

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Sourced from: New York Times, Statins May Help, Not Hinder, Heart Bypass Recovery