BACKGROUND: Recent studies suggest that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors ("statins") may have beneficial effects for patients at risk for some types of infections. We examined the effect of prior outpatient use of statins on mortality for patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study conducted at two tertiary teaching hospitals. Eligible subjects were admitted with a diagnosis of, had a chest x-ray consistent with, and had a discharge ICD-9 diagnosis of pneumonia. Subjects were excluded if they were "comfort measures only" or transferred from another acute care hospital. Subjects were considered to be on a medication if they were taking it at the time of presentation. RESULTS: Data was abstracted on 787 subjects at the two hospitals. Mortality was 9.2% at 30-days and 13.6% at 90-days. At presentation 52% of subjects were low risk, 34% were moderate risk, and 14% were high risk based on the pneumonia severity index. In the multivariable regression analysis, after adjusting for potential confounders including a propensity score, the use of statins at presentation (odds ratio 0.36, 95% confidence interval 0.14-0.92) was associated with decreased 30-day mortality. DISCUSSION: Prior outpatient statin use was associated with decreased mortality in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia despite their use being associated with comorbid illnesses likely to contribute to increased mortality. Confirmatory studies are needed, as well as research to determine the mechanism(s) of this protective effect.
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