MUNICH, GERMANY—Statins have a protective effect on renal function after cardiac surgery, according to Italian researchers.

Antonio Rubino, MD, and collaborators at “Magna Graecia” University in Catanzaro studied 72 patients referred to a cardiosurgery unit to undergo major cardiac surgery. Of these, 41 were taking statins. Using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) study formula, the investigators assessed renal function before and after surgery, 24 and 48 hours post-operatively, and at hospital discharge.

During the perioperative period, the researchers observed a significant reduction in creatinine clearance from baseline after the end of surgery and at 24 and 48 hours in both the statin recipients and in those not on statins. The reduction was similar in both groups. At discharge, however, the statin users had a significantly higher glomerular filtration rate, according to finding presented at the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association 2010 Congress.

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The researchers say the positive influence of statins on renal function is probably due to their effects on systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.