Objective: Our purpose was to determine the effect of postoperative beta-blocker withdrawal on mortality and cardiovascular events after vascular surgery.
Methods: Detailed data were collected on perioperative cardiovascular medication use and discontinuation and cardiovascular risk factors among consecutive major vascular surgical procedures at two university hospitals.
Results: A total of 140 patients received beta-blockers preoperatively. Mortality in the 8 patients who had beta-blockers discontinued postoperatively (50%) was significantly greater than in 132 patients who had beta-blockers continued (1.5%, odds ratio 65.0, P<.001). The effect of beta-blocker discontinuation was unaffected by adjustment by stratification for risk factors (all P< or =.01), for contraindications to restarting beta-blockers (P = .006), and by multivariable analyses adjusting for potential confounders (adjusted odds ratio 17.0, P =.01). beta-Blocker discontinuation also was associated with increased cardiovascular mortality (0% vs 29%, P =.005) and postoperative myocardial infarction (odds ratio 17.7, P =.003).
Conclusion: Discontinuing beta-blockers immediately after vascular surgery may increase the risk of postoperative cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.