For patients with ischemic stroke without endotracheal intubation, use of statins were associated with a reduced risk of nosocomial infections, study authors from Washington State University reported. 

It is established that statins possess immunomodulatory and peripheral anti-inflammatory properties apart from their lipid-lowering mechanisms. Clinical evidence does not clearly demonstrate whether these properties lower the risk of developing post-stroke infection. 

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The study team, led by Douglas L. Weeks, PhD, aimed to estimate the risk for developing nosocomial post-stroke infection based on statin exposure in adults (aged ≥18 years) hospitalized for ischemic stroke, by analyzing acute care hospital electronic medical records. The exposed cohort included patients who used statins preceding an infection and patients who used statins without any resulting infection. The unexposed cohort included patients who were not taking statins or who intiated statins after an infection developed. The association between statin exposure with infection was evaluated with conditional logistic regression adjusted for post-stroke infection risk factors.

A total of 1,151 records were included in the exposed cohort and 461 in the unexposed cohort. Study authors found infection developed in 20% of patients exposed to statins and in 41% of patients unexposed to statins (P<0.001). Further, statin exposure decreased the odds for developing nosocomial infection by 58% vs. no exposure (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.418;P<0.001).  

Statin use was associated with a lower risk for both genders, patients with a nasogastric tube, and patients with dysphagia (P<0.05) but no change in infection risk was seen for patients with endotracheal intubation. 

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