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Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2007 Dec;20(6):526-30.

Should my outpatient center have a beta-blocker protocol?

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Perioperative beta-blockade has been advocated by multiple authors and recent guidelines as a strategy to reduce cardiac risk in noncardiac surgery. Knowledge about application of this treatment modality to the ambulatory surgery population is poor.


Although the initial trial in patients with a positive stress test undergoing major vascular surgery demonstrated significantly fewer perioperative cardiac events among those randomized to perioperative beta-blocker therapy, more recent studies in patients without documented coronary artery disease undergoing major noncardiac surgical procedures were unable to demonstrate efficacy. Guidelines from the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology have been reported and advocated class I recommendations for perioperative beta-blockade only for patients previously taking beta-blockers and those patients with a positive stress test undergoing vascular surgery. There was insufficient evidence to make a recommendation in low-risk surgery.


Based upon the available evidence and guidelines, patients currently taking beta-blockers and undergoing ambulatory surgery should continue these agents and protocols employing this strategy should be beneficial. In patients who are not currently taking beta-blockers and in whom long-term therapy is not warranted, current evidence does not support instituting prophylactic therapy in the ambulatory surgery population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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