Beta Blocker Found to Reduce Heart Attacks in Patients Having Surgery

From Times staff and wire reports

Administering the beta blocker atenolol to patients with heart disease who were undergoing non-cardiac surgery reduced subsequent heart attacks 50%, UC San Francisco researchers report in the Dec. 5 New England Journal of Medicine. Atenolol slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and reduces the work done by the heart muscle.

The group gave either atenolol or a placebo to 200 patients who underwent non-cardiac surgery at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Two years after surgery, the death rate among placebo recipients was 21%, more than double the 10% rate for the atenolol group.

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