In the recent years, some clinical and experimental studies have suggested that the use of statins may protect against atrial fibrillation (AF). A relation between inflammation and the development of AF has been described, and the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of statins may make them effective in preventing the development of AF. A global analysis of the literature suggests that the use of statins is significantly associated with a decreased risk of incidence or recurrence of AF in some cases. However, this beneficial effect is not seen for all types of AF in all the patients. The use of statins seems associated 1) with a lack of benefit in primary prevention of AF, 2) with a significant but heterogeneous decreased risk of recurrence of AF in secondary prevention, and 3) with a very significant and homogeneous reduction for the risk of post operative AF. An intensive lipid lowering statin regimen does not provide greater protection against AF. Patients with coronary heart disease are currently treated with statins in most cases, and this may not have an impact on their treatment. In contrast, it remains to determine more accurately if statins may bring a significant benefit for some AF patients without any type of established atherosclerotic disease or with a low risk of atherogenesis. Since it remains uncertain whether the suppression of AF in these patients is beyond doubt beneficial, prescribing statins for this purpose alone should not be recommended a the present time.
Credits: Laurent Fauchier MD, PhD; Nicolas Clementy MD; Bertrand Pierre MD; Dominique Babuty MD, PhD