Open Access Research article

Effect of statin use on outcome of symptomatic cholelithiasis: a case-control study

Jukka Pulkkinen12*, Matti Eskelinen12, Vesa Kiviniemi3, Tuukka Kotilainen2, Markus Pöyhönen2, Lasse Kilpeläinen2, Pirjo Käkelä12, Helena Kastarinen3 and Hannu Paajanen12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, P.O. Box 100, FI-70029 KYS Kuopio, Finland

2 School of Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland

3 Finnish Medicines Agency, P.O. Box 55, FI-00034 FIMEA Kuopio, Finland

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BMC Gastroenterology 2014, 14:119  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-119

Published: 3 July 2014



Statins can modify bile cholesterol and, thus, the formation of gallstones. We examined whether statin use also modifies the severity of symptomatic gallstone disease and its treatment.


A total of 1,140 consecutive patients with symptomatic gallstone disease were recruited during 2008-2010 at Kuopio university hospital, Finland. Case-control analysis matched the patients using (n = 272) or not using (n = 272) statins by age and sex. The baseline characteristics of the patients, need and type of surgical treatment, duration of operation, perioperative bleeding, postoperative complications and overall mortality rate were compared statistically between the study groups.


Morbidity and subsequent polypharmacy occurred more frequently among the patients with statins compared to the patients without statins. There were no significant differences between the statin users and non-users regarding surgical treatment (open vs. laparoscopic cholecystectomy). The mean operation time for laparoscopic cholecystectomy was 10% shorter for the patients with statin use than for the patients without. In addition, there was a non-significant tendency for statin users to bleed less during laparoscopic operations than the non-users. There were no differences in other procedure-related parameters (e.g., operation urgency, conversions, choledochotomies, complications and mortality) in patients with or without statins.


Compared to no treatment, statin treatment was associated with a shorter operation time for laparoscopy cholecystectomy. Other surgical outcome parameters were similar in patients with or without statins, although statin users had more polypharmacy and circulatory illnesses than non-users.

Cholelithiasis; Statins; Cholecystectomy