Pre-Op β-Blockers May Work Against Heart-Healthy Patients

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Pre-Op β-Blockers May Work Against Heart-Healthy Patients
Pre-Op β-Blockers May Work Against Heart-Healthy Patients

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- While patients with three or four heart risk factors should still be given a β-blocker before surgery, those with no risk for heart disease shouldn't get the medication as it might lower the odds of a good outcome, according to a report published online May 27 in JAMA Surgery.

Mark Friedell, M.D., chairman of the department of surgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, and colleagues collected data on 326,489 patients. Of these patients, 96.2 percent had non-cardiac surgery and 3.8 percent had heart surgery. Among all of the patients, 43.2 percent were given a β-blocker.

Of the patients who did not get a β-blocker, 0.5 percent of those who had no heart risk factors died within 30 days after surgery, as did 1.4 percent of those with one or two risk factors and 6.7 percent of those with three to four risk factors, the researchers found. For those who did get a β-blocker, 1 percent of those with no heart risk factors died, as did 1.7 percent of those with one or two risk factors and 3.5 percent of those with three to four risk factors. Conversely, patients with no heart risk factors who were given a β-blocker were 1.2 times more likely to die during the study period than those not given the drug.

"β-blockers should not be started before surgery on those with no cardiac risk factors," Friedell told HealthDay. However, he cautioned that patients already taking a β-blocker should continue to take it before, during, and after surgery.

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