The use of statins, the cholesterol lowering drugs, could hasten the recovery process post a heart surgery per a new study.

According to the review published in the Aug. 2014 issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the wound healing process for a cardiac surgery patient would speed up if statin therapy is deployed. This therapy would especially be effective for individuals who are susceptible to complications in healing.

"Statins have become one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world. While they are typically used to manage high cholesterol levels, a number of researchers have been investigating the benefits of statins in other conditions, such as severe infections or following organ transplantation," explains lead author Gerard J. Fitzmaurice, MRCSI, MSc, from Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

The research conducted by Fitzmaurice and his team delved into nearly several existing studies of statins, as well as heart surgery. These studies primarily included observations on lab-based animals and discovered that statins were apparently effective in reducing the "inflammatory response." This in turn helped reduce the time span required to heal the body post a heart surgery to 13 days vis-à-vis 18.7 days, which is a difference of nearly a week! Moreover, statin therapy also potentially led to smaller scars in users.

The researchers opine that wounds that may heal, thanks to statin therapy, include ones as a result of heart surgery. They also feel that any surgical wound may also heal from the use of statins. However, at times, underlying factors like a predisposed medical condition like diabetes may impede the healing process for a cardiac surgery patient.

While Fitzmaurice believes that determining in detail how statins improve the healing process of a wound is difficult, he reveals that statins may likely be responsible for influencing several "factors in the inflammatory response." Moreover, the research teams' analysis reveals that some types of statins may be more effective in healing wounds than others.

"The caveat here is that the majority of this is animal research," explains Fitzmaurice. "But a human randomized trial is now merited to properly answer the question. If statins are beneficial, it could be a big progression in wound management."

The study has been published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

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