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Statin therapy 'reduces risk of delirium' in ICU patients

Continued use of statins may help prevent delirium in critically ill patients who received the drugs before being admitted, according to a UK study.

The authors said it was the first study using a validated delirium screening tool, the Confusion Assessment Method-ICU (CAM-ICU), to show that the administration of statins reduces delirium in intensive care patients.

Of the 470 patients included in the study, 151 received statins while in hospital. They were only administered to patients who had received statins prior to admission.

Administration of statins the previous evening was associated with a significantly lower risk of delirium and a reduction in serum C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of systemic inflammation – the following day.

Lead author Valerie Page, from Watford General Hospital, said: “Our findings suggest that statin treatment should be continued to help prevent delirium in critically ill patients who received statins before being admitted.”

She added: “Although the pathogenesis of delirium is not fully understood, these data are consistent with a neuro-inflammatory cause and suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of statins may contribute to the effects of statin treatment on delirium.”

The findings were published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr Page also noted that the relationship between statin therapy and delirium and the mechanisms underlying the relationship were being investigated in a separate ongoing trial in critically ill ventilated patients.


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