Background: Survivors of major vascular surgery are at increased risk of late cardiac complications. Objective: To examine the cardioprotective effect of β-blockers. Methods: A follow-up study was conducted in 1286 patients who survived surgery for at least 30 days. Patients were screened for cardiac risk factors and dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) results; 1034 patients (80%) underwent preoperative DSE, and 370 (29%) received β-blockers. The main outcome measure was late cardiac death or myocardial infarction. Results: Seventy-four patients (5.8%) had late cardiac events. Cardiac event rates in patients with 0, 1 to 2, and 3 or more risk factors were 1.6%, 4.7%, and 19.2%, respectively. In patients without risk factors, β-blockers were associated with improved event-free survival (2.8% vs 0%), and DSE had no additional prognostic value. In patients with 1 to 2 risk factors, the presence of ischemia during DSE increased cardiac events from 3.9% to 9.8%. However, if patients with ischemia were treated with β-blockers, the risk decreased to 7.2%. In patients with 3 or more risk factors, DSE and β-blockers stratified patients into intermediate- and high-risk groups. In patients without ischemia, β-blockers reduced the cardiac event rate from 15.1% to 9.5%, whereas the cardioprotective effect was limited in patients with 3 or more risk factors and positive DSE findings. Conclusions: Long-term β-blocker use is associated with a reduction in the cardiac event rate, except for patients with 3 or more risk factors and positive findings on DSE.

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Journal Archives of Internal Medicine
Kertai, M.D, Boersma, H, Bax, J.J, Thomson, I.R, Cramer, M.-J, van de Ven, L.L.M, … Poldermans, D. (2003). Optimizing long-term cardiac management after major vascular surgery: Role of β-blocker therapy, clinical characteristics, and dobutamine stress echocardiography to optimize long-term cardiac management after major vascular surgery. Archives of Internal Medicine, 163(18), 2230–2235. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.18.2230