By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

Taking statins the day of a coronary artery bypass operation may significantly improve survival, a study in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery found.

Researchers looked at 3,021 heart surgery patients, most of whom were taking cholesterol-lowering statins. The 1,788 who continued statins up to the day of surgery had a risk of death within 30 days of 1.7 percent, compared with 2.9 percent for 452 who stopped one to three days before surgery, and 3.8 percent for 781 who did not take statins or stopped more than 72 hours before their operations.

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