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Ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death worldwide at 119 per 100,000 and 85 per 100,000 population. For the USA, heart disease is leading cause of death at 165 per 100,000 population. In developed countries, strokes and acute myocardial infarction in the general population have fallen from smoking reduction, lifestyle modifications and therapeutic interventions including statins. In a population-based stroke study in the UK involving primary care practices, of in-hospital strokes 90% were ischaemic, and 37% occurred within 1 week of an operation. Approximately 50% of the patients were not on a statin. In the UK, there is a national screening initiative for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) offered to people aged 40-74 yr old. The QRISK3 tool calculates the risk of developing heart disease or stroke over 10 yr, from which recommendations are made on interventions for the prevention of ASCVD up to age 84 yr, with similar screening and assessment tools in Europe and the US. If the QRISK3 score tool for calculating cardiovascular risk is considered sufficiently robust for population screening in primary care, should anaesthetists not use the same screening for secondary care? We present a case for statin use over the perioperative period, to reduce early vascular adverse events based on statins' early pleiotropic actions, using the primary care QRISK tool for screening of ASCVD risk.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Anaesth

Publication Date





525 - 534


anaesthesia, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, pre-assessment, prevention, statin, stroke, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular Diseases, Carotid Artery Diseases, Cholesterol, LDL, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Drug Costs, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Mass Screening, Perioperative Care, Postoperative Complications, Risk Assessment, Stroke