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Postgrad Med. 2014 Nov;126(7):45-58. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2014.11.2832.

Impact of statins in outcomes of septic patients: a systematic review.

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Hospital de Santa Cruz, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental, Cardiology, Lisbon, Portugal.



The pleiotropic effects of statins have prompted considerable research in fields other than cardiovascular disease. We reviewed the literature aiming to summarize and critically evaluate the current evidence about the potential use of statins in sepsis.


We searched the Pubmed, SciELO, and Cochrane electronic databases from inception through November 1, 2013, for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort studies that examined the association between statin use (upon hospital admission or previous users) and the risk or outcome of sepsis. Data on study characteristics, measurement of statin use, and outcomes (adjusted for potential confounders) were extracted. We structured our review according to the Principles of Reporting in Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis criteria. Quality assessment of cohort studies was performed using the Ottawa-Newcastle Scale.


Twenty-three cohort studies and 5 RCTs were eligible, comprising 42 549 statin users and 54 201 non-statin users, from 1995 to 2013. The populations included varied from patients admitted to general wards or intensive care units with bacterial infections, community-acquired pneumonia, ventilator-associated pneumonia, bacteremia, or sepsis, to outpatients with chronic kidney disease or established cardiovascular disease. Overall, 16 studies reported a benefit from statin use in morbidity or mortality outcomes (range of adjusted odds ratio, 0.06-0.62; α = 0.05). The remaining 12 studies found no protective effect associated with statin use upon hospital admission or previous users. Among the 5 RCTs, none demonstrated a reduction in mortality.


There is insufficient evidence to support the use of statins in patients with sepsis, as the existing studies failed to prove a consistent mortality benefit. More clinical trials are warranted to provide more conclusive knowledge and ultimately change clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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