Open Access Research article

Upstream therapy with statin and recurrence of atrial fibrillation after electrical cardioversion. Review of the literature and meta-analysis

Lorenzo Loffredo*, Francesco Angelico, Ludovica Perri and Francesco Violi

Author Affiliations

I Clinica Medica, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale del Policlinico 155, Rome, 00161, Italy

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2012, 12:107  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-107

Published: 21 November 2012



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia observed in clinical practice. Electrical cardioversion (EC) is commonly used to restore and maintain sinus rhythm but it is characterized by high rate of recurrences. Several trials analyzed the effects of statins to reduce the recurrences in AF with contradictory results.


We performed a meta-analysis of the interventional trials with statins in patients with persistent AF to evaluate recurrences after EC. Only randomized controlled trials were included in the analysis. Data sources included: Medline, ISI Web of Science, SCOPUS and Cochrane database (up to June 2012). Data extraction was performed by three authors. Study-specific odds ratios (ORs) were combined using fixed-effects model.


Six studies with 515 patients were included in the analysis. Statins used in the selected trials were: atorvastatin (at dosages ranging from 10 to 80 mg/day), pravastatin (40 mg/day) and rosuvastatin (20 mg/day). AF recurrence after EC occurred in 108/258 (41.8%) of patients treated with statins and in 132/257 (51.3%) patients not on treatment with statins. Compared with control, recurrences were significantly reduced with statin treatment (O.R.: 0.662; 95% C.I., 0.45-0.96; p=0.03); statin treatment was associated with an absolute risk reduction of 0.095 and a number needed to treat of 11.


This review suggests that statin therapy was significantly associated with a decreased risk of recurrence in patients with persistent AF after EC.

Atrial fibrillation; Statin; Electrical cardioversion