Statins in the prevention of venous thromboembolism: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Menaka Pai, Natalie S Evans, Sanjiv J Shah, David Green, Deborah Cook, Mark A Crowther
Thrombosis Research 2011, 128 (5): 422-30

INTRODUCTION: Studies have established a relationship between inflammation and venous thromboembolism (VTE). Though statins modulate inflammation, it is uncertain if they prevent VTE in heterogeneous populations. A recent randomized trial demonstrated that statins prevent VTE in healthy older adults, yet this has not been well established in other groups, including younger individuals and individuals with comorbidities. The objective of this meta-analysis was to estimate the effect of statins on VTE in a heterogeneous group of adults.

METHODS: We systematically reviewed the effect of statins in preventing VTE in adult inpatients and outpatients. We systematically searched MEDLINE (1966-Jan 2010), EMBASE (1980-Jan 2010), Google Scholar, Cochrane Library, PapersFirst, ProceedingsFirst, and ISI Web of Science, manually reviewed references, and contacted experts. Observational studies that compared any dose of statin to no statin or placebo, examined inpatients or outpatients, and assessed VTE, pulmonary embolism, and/or deep vein thrombosis were included. Study selection, data abstraction and study quality evaluation (using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale) were independently conducted in duplicate.

RESULTS: Four cohort studies and four case-control studies met criteria. Comparing statins to control, the odds ratio for VTE was 0.67 (95% confidence interval 0.53, 0.84), and for deep vein thrombosis was 0.53 (95% confidence interval 0.22, 1.29). The association was attenuated in lower-quality studies and studies enrolling older individuals.

CONCLUSIONS: Further well-designed trials are needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of statins in preventing VTE in heterogenous populations of adults, identify high-risk subgroups, and analyze cost-effectiveness of statin use for this indication.

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