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Title: Effects of peri-operative statin treatment on atrial electrical properties, post-operative atrial fibrillation and in-hospital clinical outcomes in patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery
Author: Jayaram, Raja
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 8392
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Surgical myocardial revascularization remains the standard of care for patients with multi-vessel coronary artery disease. A growing body of evidence indicates that systemic inflammation and myocardial oxidative stress are associated with the development of postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) and low cardiac output syndrome in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Statins have been shown to exert rapid anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects by inhibiting myocardial NOX2 oxidases and by increasing the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO). However, whether these so-called pleiotropic effects of statins result in improved patient outcomes remains to be established. To provide further insights into the mechanisms of action and impact on clinical outcomes of peri-operative statin treatment in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, I studied the molecular mechanisms underlying the myocardial nitroso-redox balance in samples of the right atrial appendages (RAA) obtained before (PRE) and after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) and reperfusion (POST) and setup two double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trials: 1) STARR (Statin Treatment on Atrial Refractoriness and Reperfusion injury), which tested the effect of Atorvastatin (80 mg once daily for up to 6 days before surgery and 5 days after) on the atrial effective refractory period (AERP, over 4 post-operative days) and superoxide production in paired PRE- and POST- RAA samples from 60 patients 2) STICS (Statin Treatment In Cardiac Surgery), which assessed the effects of peri-operative treatment with Rosuvastatin (20mg od) on POAF (assessed by continuous holter ECG monitoring for 5 days postoperatively) and myocardial injury (assessed by serial troponin I measurements) in 1922 patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery. I observed that atrial superoxide production increased significantly after reperfusion due to increased mitochondrial and NOX2 oxidase activity and to uncoupling of NOS activity. NOS activity in RAA samples decreased significantly after reperfusion (by 60%), but this reduction was not prevented by BH4 supplementation (10 μM) or NOX2 inhibition. Instead, I identified increased endothelial NOS S-glutathionylation as the main mechanism responsible for NOS uncoupling after reperfusion. In STARR, atorvastatin prevented increase in RAA superoxide production, maintained the functionally coupled status of NOS and NO bioavailability after reperfusion but had no measurable effect on postoperative AERP. In STICS, treatment with rosuvastatin significantly reduced LDL-C concentration by 48 hours after surgery but had no effect on the incidence of POAF (203 (21%) of the Rosuvastatinallocated patients vs. 197 (20%) of the placebo-allocated patients) or on perioperative myocardial damage (P = 0.80). Pre-defined subgroup analyses (age, sex, prior statin use, baseline troponin concentration, duration of randomized treatment before surgery, type of cardiac surgery, and postoperative use of anti-inflammatory drugs) did not identify any category of patient who benefited from perioperative rosuvastatin treatment. Nor were there beneficial effects on any of the other in-hospital clinical outcomes that were assessed. In conclusion, cardiac surgery on CPB is associated with myocardial nitroso redox imbalance that is reversed by perioperative intensive therapy with statins. However, these effects have no beneficial effects on common in-hospital complications after elective cardiac surgery. Although the benefits of long-term statin therapy in patients requiring myocardial revascularization are well established, the work presented in this thesis does not support routine use of perioperative intensive therapy with statins for the prevention of postoperative complications in patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery.
Supervisor: Casadei, Barbara ; Chen, Zhengming ; Hill, Michael Sponsor: Oxford Biomedical Research Centre
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Oxidative stress ; Heart--Surgery ; Cardiopulmonary bypass ; Atrial fibrillation ; Statins (Cardiovascular agents) ; Postoperative complications ; Ischaemia reperfusion ; Cardiac surgery