Effectiveness of statins in reducing the rate of severe sepsis: A retrospective evaluation

Christopher P. Martin, Robert L. Talbert, David S. Burgess, Jay I. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Study Objectives. To determine whether use, of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) is associated with a reduced rate of severe sepsis, and to further characterize the effect of statins on the frequency of organ dysfunction in patients with severe sepsis. Design. Retrospective cohort study. Setting. University-associated teaching hospital. Patients. Fifty-three patients admitted with sepsis; 16 were receiving statins and 37 were not receiving statins (controls) before admission. Measurements and Main Results. Patients were identified by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes. Patient demographics, vital signs, and laboratory values were collected from their electronic medical records. The primary end point was rate of severe sepsis, defined in accordance with guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Secondary end points were in-hospital mortality rate and rate of five categories of organ dysfunction (cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary, hematologic, and metabolic). Preadmission statin therapy, compared with no statin therapy, was associated with a 30% lower rate of severe sepsis (56% vs 86%, p<0.02). In-hospital mortality was not significantly different between groups (38% vs 49%, p=0.33); however, the rate of cardiovascular dysfunction, defined as hypotension requiring vasopressor therapy, was significantly lower in the statin group (38% vs 73%, p<0.02). No significant differences in the other organ dysfunction categories were noted between groups. Conclusion. Statins appear to prevent sepsis from becoming severe, most notably through prevention of sepsis-induced hypotension. This potential role for statins in the prevention and treatment of severe sepsis should be further evaluated in a randomized controlled trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme a reductase inhibitors
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
  • Sepsis
  • Severe sepsis
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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