Blood pressure drug before surgery raises risks

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Patients taking blood pressure drugs known as beta blockers had double the risk of heart attack after surgery and more than double the risk of dying within a month of the operation, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

Beta blockers are often given to slow a patient’s heart rate before routine operations such a hernia repair, but recent studies are beginning to suggest the drugs may do more harm than good.

“This study very clearly shows you have to be very cautious about it. It’s not for everybody,” said Dr. Kamal Itani of Boston University, whose study appears in the Archives of Surgery.

Itani said surgeons embraced the use of beta blockers after major studies in the 1980s suggested the drugs reduced heart risks in people undergoing surgery.

But Itani thinks there was not enough evidence to show the risks outweighed the benefits. “It was a very hasty decision,” he said in a telephone interview.

Now, evidence is beginning to suggest the drugs can actually raise the risk of heart problems and death.

In May, a team led by Dr. P.J. Devereaux of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, reported in the journal Lancet that people who got a high dose of a beta blocker before surgery were a third more likely to die and had double the risk of stroke compared with those given a dummy pill.

For his study, Itani and colleagues looked back at the medical records of 238 patients who were on beta blockers for heart conditions anyway before surgery in 2000 and a carefully matched group of 408 patients who were not on the drugs.  Continued…


Related Posts:

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is no evidence that brand-name drugs given to treat heart and other cardiovascular conditions work any better than their cheaper generic counterparts, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. The findings run counter to the perception by some doctors and patients that pricier brand-name drugs are clinically superior, said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim

Full Post: Brand-name drugs no better than generics: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women younger than age 65 with diabetes tend to have worse cardiovascular risk profiles than diabetic men of the same age, leading to higher death rates following a heart attack, research shows. “The female advantage with fewer cardiovascular events than in men at younger ages is attenuated once a woman has

Full Post: Diabetic women more likely to die after heart attack

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - High levels of a hormone made in fat cells may be a strong indicator of the onset of heart failure, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The hormone, called resistin, is known to bolster resistance to insulin in the blood. It is also linked with inflammation and some studies in rats suggest

Full Post: Fat hormone may help predict heart failure: study

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For elderly people with elevated blood pressure, further spikes in blood pressure levels can affect their ability to think clearly, U.S. researchers said on Monday. The findings offer another reason for people with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, to get the condition under control — for the sake of

Full Post: For elderly, blood pressure spikes mar thinking

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The number of people 65 or older who are hospitalized for heart failure more than doubled in the past 27 years and is likely to keep climbing unless prevention measures are adopted quickly, U.S. researchers said on Sunday. The American Heart Association estimates the chronic but often deadly condition will cost $34.8 billion

Full Post: Heart failure hospitalization rates surge: study

Site Navigation

Most Read