Beta-Blockers: Choosing the Right Patient

In a retrospective evaluation of over 130 thousand patients at one of 104 Veterans Health Administration hospitals undergoing non-cardiac surgery between 2005 and 2010, peri-operative use of beta-blockers was associated with lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular events.  Notably when looking at risk reduction among subgroups based on RCRI criteria, significant reductions in risk were present among those with RCRI ≥ 2.

There was no difference in rates of stroke in the matched cohort between those receiving and those not receiving beta-blockers.

Additionally, they noted a decrease in overall use of peri-operative beta-blockers from 44% in 2005 to 36% in 2010, which could be attributed to the findings from the 2008 POISE trial.

Review by Rachel Thompson MD FHM

Link to JAMA Abstract

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