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Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Oct 15;33(8):1352-7. Epub 2001 Sep 20.

The effect of statins on mortality in patients with bacteremia.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.


The statins, inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, act to regulate the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Statins also deplete nonsterol cholesterol precursors, the isoprenoids, which are necessary for prenylation of critical membrane proteins that regulate cellular communication, including the inflammatory response. In a retrospective review of 388 bacteremic infections due to aerobic gram-negative bacilli and Staphylococcus aureus, there was a significant reduction in both overall (6% vs. 28%; P=.002) and attributable (3% vs. 20%; P=.010) mortality among patients taking statins compared with patients not taking statins. This reduction in mortality persisted in a multivariate analysis (odds ratio, 7.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-57.5). Among the statin group, diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease were more prevalent (P<.001), and there were more skin and soft tissue infections identified as sources of bacteremia (P=.008). These data suggest a potential clinical role of statins in bacteremic infection; however, the mechanism by which mortality is reduced remains undefined.

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