Article

Statins: Panacea for sepsis?

Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Centre, Toronto, Canada.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 19.45). 05/2006; 6(4):242-8. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70439-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sepsis occurs when the immune system responds to a localised infection at a systemic level, thereby causing tissue damage and organ dysfunction. Statins have proven health benefits in many diseases involving vascular inflammation and injury. Recent animal data suggest that the administration of a statin before a sepsis-inducing insult reduces morbidity and improves survival. The immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of statins, collectively referred to as pleiotropic effects, lend biological plausibility to such findings. Limited human data hint at reduced mortality rates in bacteraemic patients, and a reduced risk of sepsis in patients with bacterial infections concurrently taking statins. These lines of evidence point to a potential new treatment and prevention modality for sepsis. The stage is set for randomised controlled clinical trials that will determine whether statins represent a safe and beneficial treatment in critically ill, septic patients and whether statins are effective at preventing sepsis in high-risk clinical settings.

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Available from: Marius Terblanche, Aug 14, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Sepsis continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Evidence is emerging from observational studies and basic science research that statins might be associated with reduced mortality in sepsis. Statins have diverse immunomodulatory and anti- inflammatory properties independent of their lipid-lowering ability. The protective association between statins and sepsis persisted in high-risk subgroups including patients with diabetes mellitus, those with malignancy, and those receiving steroids. This review discusses the basis of these observations and the current place of statin therapy in patients with sepsis. This is a rapidly growing field of fascinating experimental biology. It suggests an urgent need to investigate the pharmacology of these drugs and reappraise their therapeutic indications in critically ill patients. If this finding is supported by prospective controlled trials, statins may play an important role in sepsis related mortality. By the other hand statins are significantly cheaper than other therapies that have been shown to improve outcome in sepsis, and the demonstration of mortality benefit would have enormous cost-benefit implication.
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