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Beta blockers

Beta-Blocker Drugs Cause 400 Percent Increase in Heart Attacks

Thursday, April 02, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: beta blockers, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Surgical patients who are given blood pressure drugs known as beta-blockers around the time of surgery are four times more likely to suffer heart attacks and death than patients who are not given such drugs, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Health Care System and published in the journal Archives of Surgery.

Because many surgeries place patients at an increased risk of heart problems, it has become standard procedure among many doctors to give all surgical patients beta-blockers before surgery, regardless of whether they have pre-existing blood pressure problems or not.

Researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 1,200 patients who had undergone surgeries including hernia, orthopedic or vascular procedures at a VA hospital in Houston in 2000. Based on these records, researchers noted each patient's heart rate before and after surgery, and also classified their risk of heart problems as either low, intermediate or high.

The researchers found that the 238 patients who were either given beta-blockers before their surgery or who were already taking the drugs were four times more likely to suffer from heart attacks or death within 30 days of their surgery than 408 patients of similar, age, sex, heart and kidney health, smoking status and surgical risk who had not been given the drug -- 2.94 percent, as opposed to 0.74 percent. None of the patients who died had been placed into the high heart risk group, leading the researchers to speculate that beta-blockers might offer some protection to those who already have heart problems while harming those who do not.

The researchers also found that the patients in the beta-blocker group who died had average pre-surgery heart rates of 86 beats per minute, significantly higher than the 70 beats per minute among survivors in the same group. This suggests that having a lower heart rate might be an important part of protecting against heart complications from beta-blockers.

Sources for this story include: www.boston.com.

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