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Prev Cardiol. 2008 Winter;11(1):26-8.

The effect of beta-blockade on heart rate recovery following exercise stress echocardiography.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of beta-blockers (BBs) on heart rate recovery (HRR) following exercise stress testing. HRR is a predictor of mortality following exercise stress testing and is thought to be due to reinstitution of vagal tone. Exercise testing in the presence of BBs should have no effect on reinstitution of vagal tone and therefore no effect on HRR. One published study contradicts this understanding. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of the University of California, Davis, treadmill database and found 334 patients who underwent exercise stress echocardiography (ESE) with complete data. Patients undergoing ESE without a BB were compared with patients who were receiving a BB. HRR was not affected by BB use in patients without stress-induced echocardiographic abnormalities (negative ESE result). In patients with stress-induced echocardiographic abnormalities (positive ESE result), HRR was delayed compared with patients with negative ESE. BB use improved HRR in patients with positive ESE. BBs do not affect HRR in patients with a negative ESE result, and HRR can be used for mortality prediction. In patients with a positive ESE result, HRR is improved in the presence of a BB.

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