Acute kidney injury often arises after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of normal blood flow during the procedure. The use of contrast media, or dyes, can contribute to this problem.

In patients undergoing coronary angiography or percutaneous coronary intervention, which are heart procedures that use dyes to help surgeons visualize the arteries, a high dose of the statin atorvastatin was linked with a reduction in blood levels of creatinine, a marker of kidney injury, as well as a lower incidence of acute kidney injury compared with a low dose of the statin.

The findings, which come from an analysis of 14 randomized controlled clinical trials consisting of 1689 patients, suggest that short-term high-dose atorvastatin therapy may be superior to low-dose atorvastatin for protecting heart surgery patients’ kidney health. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.

Wu, H., Li, D., Fang, M., Han, H. and Wang, H. (2015), Meta-analysis of short-term high versus low doses of atorvastatin preventing contrast-induced acute kidney injury in patients undergoing coronary angiography/percutaneous coronary intervention. Journal of Clinical Pharma, 55: 123–131. doi: 10.1002/jcph.411