Potential role of statins as immunomodulators in pneumococcal pneumonia

Simit Mahesh Doshi, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: Mortality in pneumococcal pneumonia remains as high as 20%, and most deaths occur within the first two weeks of hospitalization despite eradication of the causative organisms by antimicrobials in the first 24 hours. An inflammatory response rather than active infection could be responsible for this early mortality. Statins have been shown to have potent immunomodulatory activity in vitro. We investigated whether there was decreased severity or improved outcome in patients who were receiving statins at the time they were admitted for pneumococcal pneumonia. Methods: Patients seen at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas from January, 2000 to June, 2010 with a diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia were included in this retrospective cohort study. Electronic medical records were reviewed to record demographic characteristics, comorbidities, laboratory values and statin use at the time of admission. Severity of pneumonia was determined using the Pneumonia Outcomes Research Team (PORT) classification. Uni- and multivariate Cox regression was used to evaluate survival. We adjusted for all variables in the multivariate model if they were significant in the univariate model at p<0.05. Results: Of 347 patients admitted for pneumococcal pneumonia, 90 (25.9%) were taking statins at the time of presentation. Patients in the statin group were older (age: 68.0±9.7 vs. 62.5±12.3 years, p<0.001) and had higher prevalence of diabetes, coronary artery disease and kidney disease (p<0.05 for each comparison). Liver disease and alcohol consumption were less prevalent among statin users (p<0.05). The PORT scores were normally distributed in both groups with statin users having higher mean scores at admission as compared to patients not on statins (108±32 vs. 96±32, p = 0.002). The Cox proportional hazard analyses, adjusted for age, comorbidities, length of stay and PORT scores, showed a significantly reduced risk of mortality among statin users at 14 days (HR: 0.39; 0.15-0.98, p=0.045), 20 days (0.35; 0.14- 0.88, p=0.03) and 30 days(0.41; 0.17-0.95, p=0.01) after presentation. Conclusion: Statin use is associated with improved clinical outcomes in patients with pneumococcal pneumonia.

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Recommended Citation

Doshi, Simit Mahesh, "Potential role of statins as immunomodulators in pneumococcal pneumonia" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497687.