HealthDay News — Statins could significantly reduce the risk of infection in stroke patients, according to a study published online in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.
The medical records of 1,612 patients hospitalized with ischemic stroke were reviewed for the study. The researchers found that patients taking statins had a risk reduction for nosocomial infection of 58%. Statins were found to lower the infection risk in both men and women, in patients with a nasogastric tube, and in patients with dysphagia, but not in patients with endotracheal intubation.
“The administration of statins relative to infection is critically important,” study author Doug Weeks, PhD, an adjunct professor at the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane, said in a university news release. “We’ve been able to establish that if statins are given early, before infection can occur, the risk of infection is substantially reduced. However, this relationship needs to be tested in more rigorous placebo-controlled studies to see if this benefit with statins is maintained.”
Weeks also noted that research over the last decade has suggested that along with lowering cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of heart disease, statins may also have anti-inflammatory properties that help the body respond to infection.
Weeks DL, Greer CL, Willson MN. Statin Medication Use and Nosocomial Infection Risk in the Acute Phase of Stroke. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2016.05.033.