Statin therapy is associated with higher long-term but not perioperative survival after abdominal aortic aneurysm repair

Thomas F.X. O'Donnell, Sarah E. Deery, Katie E. Shean, Murray A. Mittleman, Jeremy D. Darling, Mohammad H. Eslami, Randall R. DeMartino, Marc L. Schermerhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Although preoperative and perioperative statin therapy improves postoperative outcomes in several populations, few data examine its association with survival after abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair. In addition, no data exist regarding the benefits of starting statins in patients with AAA not currently taking them. Methods: We performed a registry-based study of all patients undergoing repair of AAAs in the Vascular Quality Initiative between 2003 and 2017 without documented statin intolerance. In our primary analysis, we evaluated the association between preoperative statin therapy and long-term mortality, 30-day mortality, and in-hospital myocardial infarction and stroke. As a secondary analysis, we studied the cohort of patients not taking a statin preoperatively and compared their long-term mortality on the basis of whether they were discharged on a statin. To account for nonrandom assignment to treatment, we constructed propensity scores and applied inverse probability weighting. Results: We identified 40,452 AAA repairs, of which 37,950 fit our entry criteria (29,257 endovascular and 8693 open). Overall, 25,997 patients (69%) were taking a statin preoperatively, with patients undergoing endovascular aneurysm repair more frequently taking a statin than those undergoing open repair (69% compared with 66%; P <.001). After propensity weighting, preoperative statin therapy was not associated with 30-day death or in-hospital stroke or myocardial infarction. However, patients taking statins preoperatively experienced higher adjusted 1-year (94% vs 90%) and 5-year (85% vs 81%) survival from the date of surgery compared with those who were not (P <.001 overall), although subgroup analysis showed that this applied only to intact or symptomatic aneurysms. Of the 11,941 patients not taking a statin preoperatively and discharged alive, 2910 (24%) started on a statin before discharge. In our secondary analysis of the subset of patients not taking statins preoperatively, those initiated on a statin before discharge experienced higher survival at 1 year (94% vs 91%) and 5 years (89% vs 81%; P <.001 overall) than those who remained off statin therapy, with the greatest absolute long-term survival difference in patients with rupture (87% vs 62%; P <.001 overall). Conclusions: Preoperative statin therapy is associated with higher long-term survival but not perioperative mortality and morbidity in patients undergoing AAA repair, and initiating statin therapy in previously statin-naive patients is associated with markedly higher survival. All patients with AAAs without contraindications should receive statin therapy. In patients not taking a statin at the time of AAA repair, clinicians should consider initiating one before discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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