beta blocker

Does exposure to beta blocker treatment affect the rate of mortality following an acute myocardial infarction? A new study examines the correlation between the use of this treatment and its effects on heart patients.


Beta blocker treatment has been used over time to treat conditions pertaining to heart and blood flow. The treatment controls the effect of adrenaline and in doing so, reduces blood pressure. A research study published by the British Medical Journal used available data to determine the efficiency of this form of treatment for patients with acute myocardial infarction, no heart failure, and adequate left ventricle function.

Data comprised of records of patients with acute myocardial infarction, admitted to intensive care units, in France, over the course of one month. A cumulative amount of 2679 patients from 223 institutions participated in the study, starting from October 1st 2005. The type and dose amount of β blocker drugs were recorded. Cause of death was divided into the following categories: cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular, undetermined, and whether it was sudden or non-sudden. Results were further cross-linked with national databases pertaining to deaths. Assessment of mortality was carried out at 30 days, one year, and 5 years of patient’s condition.

Results concluded that the group of patients taking β blockers earlier on in the treatment secured a lower mortality rate at 30 days. Continued use of β blocker treatment did not relate to changes in mortality rates over the period of 1 year and 5 years. It was further determined that patients discontinuing these drugs had a lower hazard ratio at the 5-year mark when compared to patients using prolonged treatment.

The published research reveals vital statistics pertaining to β blocker treatment with respect to patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction. These results are significant in assessing the necessity of prolonged β blocker treatment for these patients, suggesting that the treatment may only be efficient for a short period. While further research on the topic needs to be conducted on a global level, the study provides evidence for medical professionals to question the use of prolonged treatment, and advise against the extended use of β blocker treatment.




Written By: Shrishti Ahuja, BSc

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