Study Shows Taking Beta-Blockers Before Bypass Surgery Increases Survival Chances

A new study shows death during and following heart bypass surgery can be reduced by using a common heart medication before the patient goes into the operating room.

The use of Beta-Blocker medicines proved both effective and safe. The family of medicines helps improve heart function, control blood pressure and reduces the chance for additional heart attacks.

Based on a study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, increasing pre-bypass surgery Beta-Blocker use from the present 60% to 85% could make a life saving difference among patients undergoing this surgery.

Bruce Ferguson, M.D. of Louisiana State University's Health Sciences Center conducted the study. "Patients who learn about Beta-Blockers and learn that there are data now that suggests that beta-blockers are helpful to them, should ask their cardiac surgeon and their cardiologists if they're on a Beta-Blocker and, if not, why not."

In this study, researchers looked at the death rate and various major complications during the first month following bypass surgery. Researchers talked to more than 600,000 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass operations from 1996 to 1999.