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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Beta Blocker Found to Reduce Heart Attacks in Patients Having Surgery

December 05, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Administering the beta blocker atenolol to patients with heart disease who were undergoing non-cardiac surgery reduced subsequent heart attacks 50%, UC San Francisco researchers report in the Dec. 5 New England Journal of Medicine. Atenolol slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and reduces the work done by the heart muscle.

The group gave either atenolol or a placebo to 200 patients who underwent non-cardiac surgery at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Two years after surgery, the death rate among placebo recipients was 21%, more than double the 10% rate for the atenolol group.

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