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Taking statins before heart op reduces AF risk

Patients taking statins before heart surgery are at less risk of post-operative atrial fibrillation and have shorter stays in hospital, according to a Cochrane review.

The team from the University of Cologne analysed data from 11 randomised controlled trials covering 984 patients undergoing different forms of heart surgery.

They found taking statins before surgery could reduce the chance of atrial fibrillation after the operation by around 30%.

Patients who took statins before surgery also tended to leave intensive care about three and a half hours earlier and left hospital about a day and half earlier compared to those who did not.

However, there was no significant difference in the risk of dying, stroke, heart attack or kidney failure around the time of the operation.

The data analysed came mainly from patients having coronary artery bypass operations so the findings could not be extended to patients undergoing other cardiac procedures such as heart valve or aortic surgery, said the researchers.

“To get a clearer picture of the potential benefits of taking statins before a heart operation, we need to have more clinical trials,” said lead researcher Oliver Liakopoulos.

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