Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Statin use in seniors linked to higher risk of delirium after surgery

From CBC News:
Elderly people who take cholesterol-lowering statins may be at higher risk for delirium after surgery, say Canadian researchers who suggest temporarily stopping use of the drugs before surgery to prevent the complication.

People over 70 commonly show delirium or confusion after elective surgery, such as to repair hip fractures. Doctors now recognize delirium as a complication that should be prevented, recognized and treated.

Delirium not only causes anxiety for patients and their families, it also contributes to longer hospital stays, prolongs the need for intensive care and may disrupt or delay care, the researchers said.

In Tuesday's issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Donald Redelmeier of Ontario's Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and his colleagues concluded the use of statins is associated with a 28 per cent increased risk of delirium in elderly patients who had surgery between 1992 and 2002.

To come to that conclusion, the researchers reviewed hospital and outpatient pharmacy records of more than 280,000 patients aged 65 or older who were admitted for elective surgery.

Among the seven per cent of patients taking statins, 3,195 experienced delirium after surgery, the researchers said. ...more

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