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Beta Blocker Link to Risk for Postoperative Stroke Analyzed

No association found between chronic use of beta blockers before non-cardiac surgery and stroke

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- The chronic use of beta blockers prior to non-cardiac surgery is not associated with an increased incidence of postoperative stroke, according to a study in the August 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Felix van Lier, M.D., of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues studied 186,779 patients who had non-cardiac surgery at the Erasmus Medical Centre between 2000 and 2008. The researchers selected for study 34 patients who had suffered strokes within 30 days of their surgery. Each subject was matched with two controls by calendar year, surgery type, and age. In both the study and control groups, 29 percent of patients had used beta blockers that were started at least 30 days before surgery.

The researchers found that, overall, the odds ratio for postoperative stroke for patients who took beta blockers compared to those who did not was 0.4. The risk remained the same when the patients were stratified by cardiac risk factors and use of cardiovascular therapy.

"The results of this case-control study of 186,779 patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery has demonstrated that chronic beta-blocker use, started greater than or equal to one month before surgery, is not associated with postoperative stroke," the authors conclude.

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