Beta-blocker use after non-cardiac surgery increases death risk

Use of beta-blockers after non-cardiac surgery increases the risk of death and stroke, international study findings show.

Involving 8,351 patients with or at risk from atherosclerosis undergoing surgery, participants were randomly assigned to receive the beta-blocker metoprolol succinate or placebo.

Treatment was started two to four hours prior to surgery and continued for 30 days.

Analysis showed that for every 1,000 patients treated with a beta-blocker, there would be 8 excess deaths, 5 patients who suffer stroke, 53 with clinically significant hypotension and 42 with clinical significant bradycardia.

However, the treatment would also prevent 15 MIs, 3 cardiac revascularisations and 7 new cases of AF.

The Lancet

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