Starting beta-blocker treatment within 24 hours of cardiothoracic surgery provides significant recovery benefits according to new research in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Beta-blockers shortened hospital stays by 2.2 days and reduced atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm, by 17.3%. These important findings were released early at The Annals of Pharmacotherapys Articles Ahead of Print (www.theannals.com) and will appear in the journals December print issue.
In the article entitled, "Impact of Prophylactic Postoperative Beta-Blockade on Post-Cardiothoracic Surgery Length of Stay and Atrial Fibrillation," Craig I. Coleman PharmD, C. Michael White PharmD, and co-researchers at Connecticuts Hartford Hospital report findings from 1660 patients collected over a 4-year period. In the largest trial of its kind to date, all patients received standard care and half also began beta-blocker treatment shortly after surgery.
In addition to reduced hospital stays and atrial fibrillation, early beta-blocker use was also associated with significant reductions in patient death, the risk of fluid in the lungs, and the need for a balloon pump to assist the heart. Those events were reduced by 59%, 55%, and 53%, respectively. There was no difference in the occurrence of post-surgical stroke or heart attack between the two groups.
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