Statin Drugs May Cut Risk of Kidney Trouble After Surgery
Study: Older Adults Taking the Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Had Lower Odds of Post-Surgical Kidney Failure
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Statins and Kidney Injury continued...
To see if the relationship between statins and kidney injury got stronger if patients were on stronger statin medications, researchers classified different statins as either high or low potency drugs.
People were classified as being on more potent statins if they were taking a drug or dose that had been proven in other studies to reduce LDL cholesterol by 45% or more.
People on these high-potency regimens saw their risk of kidney failure cut by 24% compared to those who weren’t taking statins. And compared to those on less powerful statins, those on high-potency prescriptions saw their risk of renal failure cut by an additional 15%.
Statins appeared to be protective even if patients had been on them a relatively short time, as little as a month or less before surgery.
How Statins May Protect the Kidneys
Acute kidney injury is a common complication after surgery. Depending on how researchers define it, studies have shown that it may occur in up to 40% of patients.
It’s more common in older patients and with heart procedures that require heart and lung bypass.
Though doctors don’t exactly know how or why it happens, it’s thought that the kidneys become deprived of oxygen, which causes a cascade of damage that in some cases may become serious enough to require dialysis.
Studies in animals suggest that statins may help by blocking some of the inflammatory damage that ultimately results in kidney failure.
But the study’s authors point out that more research will be needed before doctors can recommend using statins as a protective measure before an operation.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.