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ASA: Patients Undergoing Surgery Should Stay on Statins

Discontinuing med may boost mortality risk during recovery from non-cardiac operations

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Discontinuing statins before non-cardiac surgery is unnecessary and may increase the risk of death following the operation, researchers report. The findings were to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 24 to 28 in San Diego.

The University of California, San Francisco, team, led by Susan Lee, M.D., a clinical instructor in the department of anesthesia and perioperative care, collected data on 307,151 patients who had been taking statins before non-cardiac surgery between 2000 and 2014. The researchers found that 98,014 patients had not resumed taking statins in the two days after their operation. However, the percentage of patients who did not resume taking statins within two days of surgery dropped over the study period. From 2000 to 2002, 46 percent of patients had not resumed their statins in the two days after surgery. From 2012 to 2014, only 24 percent hadn’t resumed taking statins by the second day.

Lee and her colleagues then looked at mortality rates in the 30 days after surgery. They found that the mortality rate was 2.6 percent among those who did not resume taking their statins in the two days after surgery — 40 percent higher than those who quickly resumed or never stopped taking their statins.

“We now know that patients should not stop taking their statins around the time of surgery, but some providers may still be following outdated recommendations to suspend them temporarily,” Lee said in an American Society of Anesthesiologists news release. “Unfortunately, many patients don’t resume them within two days of surgery, which is associated with an increased risk of death during the recovery process.”

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