Statin use is associated with improved recovery from acute kidney injury (AKI) following major surgery, according to a study published in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (2008;23:3867-3873).

Don Poldermans, MD, of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and his colleagues studied 1,944 patients undergoing lower-extremity bypass or abdominal aortic surgery. Of these, 515 (27%) were using statins.

AKI occurred in 664 subjects (34%), of whom 313 (47%) had complete recovery of renal function at day 3 after surgery. The incidence of kidney injury was similar among statin users and nonusers (29% and 25%), but if kidney function decreased, statin users were twice as likely as nonusers to have complete recovery of renal function. During a mean follow-up of 6.24 years, 55% of patients died. Statin use was associated with a 40% decreased death risk regardless of renal function change.

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Investigators defined postoperative kidney injury as a greater than 10% decrease in creatinine clearance on day 1 or 2 following surgery compared with baseline. They defined recovery of kidney function as a creatinine clearance greater than 90% of the baseline value at day 3.