The Particulars: Studies have shown that statin therapy helps decrease the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in healthy, non-surgical patients. However, VTE following orthopedic procedures—joint replacements, in particular—presents a unique clinical scenario when compared with other medical conditions that are associated with VTE. Data are lacking on the effect of statins on VTE in orthopedic surgical patients.

Data Breakdown: American researchers examined whether statin therapy, in addition to conventional VTE chemoprophylactic interventions, protected against VTE following elective total knee and total hip replacement in 546 patients. Patients were randomly assigned to receive chemoprophylactic therapy plus a statin (statin group) or chemoprophylactic therapy only (non-statin group). At a minimum of 11 months follow-up, the statin group had a significantly lower rate of VTE events (7.7%) when compared with the non-stating group (14.5%). Statins reduced the relative risk of VTE by 48.0%.

Take Home Pearl: When added to conventional VTE prophylaxis, statin therapy appears to significantly reduce the rate of VTE following elective total knee and hip replacements.