Perioperative β-blocker therapy and heart rate control during noncardiac surgery

Carolyn Berg, David H. Berger, Ayuk Makia, Caleb Whalen, Daniel Albo, Charles Bellows, Samir S. Awad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Perioperative treatment with β-blockade is a widely advocated practice. We assessed the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative control of heart rate (HR) in patients who received β-blockade as recommended during preoperative medicine clearance. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients who underwent noncardiac surgery from 2002 to 2004 at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas, with recommendations of β-blockade as part of their risk stratification. Demographic data and comorbid risk factors were collected on patients undergoing general anesthesia. All data were presented as mean ± SEM. The chi-square test and analysis of variance were used for statistical analysis. Results: A total of 130 patients referred for preoperative medicine clearance, who were risk-stratified based on comorbid conditions and risk of procedure, had β-blockade started before elective surgery. Sixty percent (78 of 130) of the patients underwent high-/intermediate-risk surgery. The mean preoperative HR was 74 ± 1 beat per minute (bpm). The mean intraoperative HR was 69 ± 1 bpm. The mean postoperative HR was 84 ± 1 bpm. There was a significant difference in the preoperative and intraoperative HR when compared with the postoperative HR (P < .003). There were no deaths at 30 days postoperatively. Perioperative cardiac morbidity occurred in 5.4% (7 of 130) of all patients (high patient risk, 71%; low patient risk, 29%; P < .05), and did not correlate with procedure risk. Conclusions: β-blockade is achieved sufficiently in the preoperative and intraoperative settings. However, attention to postoperative HR may be warranted to maintain the benefits of β-blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-191
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardioprotective
  • Heart rate
  • Perioperative β-blockade
  • Surgical β-blockade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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