ATLANTA—Preoperative statin use may protect against acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac surgery, researchers reported at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week 2013 meeting.

In a study of 625 adult patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery, Amber O. Molnar, MD, of the University of Ottawa in Canada, and colleagues found that patients who remained on their statins had a lower risk for elevation of various AKI biomarkers than those who had their statins held in the 24 hours before surgery. These biomarkers included urine interleukin-18, urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), plasma NGAL, and urine kidney injury molecule-1.

Of the 625 patients, 494 (21%) had their statins held and 131 did not. AKI developed in 19 patients in the statin-held group (4%) and six in the statins-continued group (5%). The researchers defined AKI as a doubling of serum creatinine or need for dialysis.

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“Statins may prevent kidney injury after cardiac surgery as evidenced by lower levels of kidney injury biomarkers,” the authors concluded in a poster presentation.