• acute kidney injury;
  • cardiac surgery;
  • cardiopulmonary bypass;
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor;
  • neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin;
  • randomized controlled trial


Aim:  To test whether short-term perioperative administration of oral atorvastatin could reduce incidence of postoperative acute kidney injury (AKI) in cardiac surgical patients.

Methods:  We conducted a double-blind, randomized controlled trial in 100 cardiac surgical patients at increased risk of postoperative AKI. Patients were randomized to atorvastatin (40 mg once daily for 4 days starting preoperatively) or identical placebo capsule. Primary outcome was to detect a smaller absolute rise in postoperative creatinine with statin therapy. Secondary outcomes included AKI defined by the creatinine criteria of RIFLE consensus classification (RIFLE R, I or F), change in urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) concentration, requirement for renal replacement therapy, length of stay in intensive care, length of stay in hospital and hospital mortality.

Results:  Study groups were well matched. For each patient maximal increase in creatinine during the 5 days after surgery was assessed; median maximal increase was 28 µmol/L in the atorvastatin group and 29.5 µmol/L in the placebo group (P = 0.62). RIFLE R or greater occurred in 26% of patients with atorvastatin and 32% with placebo (P = 0.65). Postoperatively urine NGAL changes were similar (median NGAL : creatinine ratio at intensive care unit admission: atorvastatin group 1503 ng/mg, placebo group 1101 ng/mg; P = 0.22). Treatment was well tolerated and adverse events were similar between groups.

Conclusion:  Short-term perioperative atorvastatin use was not associated with a reduced incidence of postoperative AKI or smaller increases in urinary NGAL. ( NCT00910221).