Of the entire cohort, 17% died by 30 days and nearly 23% by 90 days. Compared with those who had never received a statin, the statin users were 12% less likely to die by 30 days (hazard ratio, 0.88). Mortality at 90 days was also decreased, when compared with nonusers (HR, 0.93).
Simvastatin demonstrated the greatest benefit, with a 28% decreased risk of 30-day mortality (HR, 0.72). Atorvastatin followed, with a 22% risk reduction (HR, 0.78). Rosuvastatin exerted a nonsignificant 13% benefit.
The authors then examined 90-day mortality risks for the patients with a propensity matching score using a subgroup comprising 536 simvastatin users, 536 atorvastatin users, and 536 rosuvastatin users. Simvastatin was associated with a 23% reduction in 30-day mortality risk (HR, 0.77) and atorvastatin with a 21% reduction (HR, 0.79), when compared with rosuvastatin.
Statins’ antimicrobial properties are probably partially caused by their inactivation of the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase pathway, Dr. Lee and his colleagues noted. In addition to being vital for cholesterol synthesis, this pathway “also contributes to the production of isoprenoids and lipid compounds that are essential for cell signaling and structure in the pathogen. Secondly, the chemical property of different types of statins may affect their targeting to bacteria. The lipophilic properties of simvastatin or atorvastatin may allow better binding to bacteria cell walls than the hydrophilic properties of rosuvastatin.”
The study was funded by the Taiwan National Science Foundation and Taiwan National Ministry of Science and Technology. Dr. Lee had no financial conflicts.