Daily Health Headlines

Do Angioplasty Patients Really Need Beta-Blocker Drugs?

👤by Dennis Thompson 0 comments 🕔Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

TUESDAY, Aug. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors might be overprescribing beta-blocker medications to heart patients who aren't seriously ill, a new study contends.

Beta blockers such as Inderal (propranolol) and Lopressor (metoprolol) reduce blood pressure and control abnormal heart rhythms. They're lifesaving when given to patients who've had a heart attack or have heart failure, said study co-author Dr. Valay Parikh. He is a cardiology fellow with North Shore LIJ-Staten Island University Hospital, in Staten Island, N.Y.

But these drugs do not appear to help patients who haven't had a heart attack or have heart failure, even if they did need angioplasty -- surgery to clear a blocked artery that caused chest pain, Parikh and his colleagues report.

"Beta blocker therapy should be individualized, and these medications should not be given blindly to everyone," Parikh concluded. "They should be properly prescribed, based on each patient's indications."

Besides Inderal and Lopressor, common beta blocker brand names include Tenormin (atenolol), Zebeta (bisoprolol) and Sectral (acebutolol).

Heart doctors commonly prescribe beta blockers for their patients, said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Beta blockers protect people from a follow-up heart attack or progressive heart failure. They also can help ease chest pain in people with a partially blocked artery who haven't undergone angioplasty, the procedure used to clear a blockage, said Bhatt.

However, Parikh said it hasn't been proven that beta blockers are beneficial for people who've received angioplasty to relieve chest pain symptoms, or angina.

Reduced flow of blood to the heart due to a blocked artery creates a supply-and-demand problem for which there are two possible strategies, explained Dr. Spencer King, president of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Saint Joseph's Health System in Atlanta.

A doctor can decrease the heart's demand for oxygenated blood by prescribing beta blockers, or open the artery and increase blood flow by performing angioplasty, King said.

"The question is, should you keep taking beta blockers after you've potentially corrected the restriction in blood flow through angioplasty," he added.

King is also editor-in-chief of the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, the journal in which the article was published on Aug. 16.

To examine this question, Parikh and his colleagues reviewed records for more than 755,000 heart patients who were treated between January 2005 and March 2013. They focused solely on patients who received angioplasty for recurring chest pain, but who had not suffered either a heart attack or heart failure.

More than 71 percent of these patients had been prescribed a beta blocker, and the use of beta blockers for angioplasty patients increased during the eight-year study period, Parikh said.

"We give it to all patients with heart disease, because we assume it's going to help," he said.

However, they found no significant difference between angioplasty patients taking beta blockers and those who were not.

Three years following surgery, the death rate was about the same for the two groups, as were the rates of heart attack and stroke, the researchers reported.

Also, 8 percent of patients taking beta blockers were readmitted to the hospital due to heart failure, compared to 6.1 percent of patients not on the medication.

Because beta blockers neutralize adrenaline, the drugs can have troubling side effects, Parikh said. They can make people feel worn down, tired or mentally confused, and can have a bad effect on blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

"If you are on a beta blocker and you haven't had a heart attack or heart failure, definitely you should talk to your doctor," Parikh said. "But keep taking them in the meantime. If you have been taking them for a long time, stopping them immediately can be harmful."

King said the results indicate that doctors should reconsider use of beta blockers for patients following angioplasty.

However, he believes the matter should be subjected to a clinical trial before treatment guidelines are changed. "It does raise a serious hypothesis that perhaps more study of this in a randomized fashion should be done, to confirm it," King said.

Bhatt said the new study is part of a growing amount of data that indicates doctors should become more judicious in their use of beta blockers.

"If a beta blocker is not helping and only causing side effects, that's a problem," Bhatt said.

Article Credits / Source

Dennis Thompson / HealthDay

Dennis Thompson wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Valay Parikh, M.D., cardiology fellow, North Shore LIJ-Staten Island, University Hospital, Staten Island, N.Y.; Deepak Bhatt, M.D., MPH, executive director, interventional cardiovascular programs, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Spencer King, M.D., president, Heart and Vascular Institute, Saint Joseph's Health System, Atlanta; Aug. 16, 2016, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions

View More Articles From Dennis Thompson 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Heart Articles

Drug Combo for Irregular Heartbeat Might Raise Bleeding Risk

Drug Combo for Irregular Heartbeat Might Raise Bleeding Risk0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Because the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation can trigger stroke-inducing clots, many patients are prescribed a blood thinner. But a new Canadian study suggests that combining one blood ...

Heart Attacks Up in New Orleans Post-Katrina

Heart Attacks Up in New Orleans Post-Katrina0

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A major New Orleans hospital has seen a sharp spike in the rate of heart attacks in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, a new study reports. Heart attack admissions to Tulane ...

Amputations Due to Poor Blood Flow More Likely in Certain Groups

Amputations Due to Poor Blood Flow More Likely in Certain Groups0

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Poor and black patients with narrowing of the blood vessels have a higher risk of amputation than other patients, a new study finds. Peripheral artery disease (PAD), as this blood-vessel narrowing is ...

Lifestyle, Stress May Play Role in Heart Rhythm Disorder

Lifestyle, Stress May Play Role in Heart Rhythm Disorder0

SATURDAY, Nov. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Stress and poor heart-health habits significantly increase the risk of a common heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, two preliminary studies suggest. The irregular or quivering heartbeat ...

Pessimism May Take Unwelcome Toll on the Heart

Pessimism May Take Unwelcome Toll on the Heart0

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Always seeing the cup as half empty, rather than half full, may increase the likelihood of dying from heart disease, Finnish researchers say. An 11-year study of nearly 3,000 men and women found that ...

View More Heart Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!