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Special Feature |

Does Statin Use Improve Pneumonia Outcomes?

Vineet Chopra, MD; Scott A. Flanders, MD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: From the Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI.

Correspondence to: Vineet Chopra, MD, University of Michigan Health System, 3119 Taubman Center, 1500 E Medical Center Dr, SPC 5376, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; e-mail: vineetc@med.umich.edu


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(5):1381-1388. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0941
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Despite medical advances, pneumonia remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among patients in developed countries. It is therefore not surprising that much research has been devoted to improving outcomes associated with this condition. Traditionally thought of as lipid-lowering agents, the 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (hereafter referred to as statins) have “pleiotropic” effects of clinical relevance. Several studies have reported an association between statin use and improved health outcomes, including those associated with pneumonia. While many of these are limited by their retrospective or observational methodology, the finding that statin use may improve pneumonia outcomes is tantalizing and worthy of further exploration. Our review of the literature found several potential mechanisms by which statins could influence the course of bacterial pneumonia. For instance, statins directly attenuate inflammation and inflammatory markers, are antioxidative and immunomodulatory, and exert in vitro antibacterial effects on microbial pathogens. On the other hand, statin use is also thought to be a surrogate marker for better health and may simply be a confounding variable when it comes to pneumonia. This article explores some of the potential mechanisms by which statin therapy may impact the course of pneumonia. In addition, we review the clinical studies both supporting and arguing against such an effect.

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