Chronic beta-blocker therapy improves outcome and reduces treatment costs in chronic type B aortic dissection

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 May;19(5):606-10. doi: 10.1016/s1010-7940(01)00662-5.


Objectives: To compare the medical treatment of chronic type B aortic dissection with beta-blockers versus other antihypertensive treatments in terms of their requirement for surgical intervention and treatment costs.

Methods: Case records of the 130 patients treated for aortic dissection type B in this unit between 1988 and 1997 were reviewed. Seventy-eight of 130 patients with chronic dissection have received isolated medical treatment. Seventy-one of 78 patients were discharged alive. Fifty-one of 71 received beta-blocker treatment, 20/71 were treated with other antihypertensive drugs.

Results: Surgery for aortic dissection became necessary in 20/71 patients (28%) during follow-up (mean, 4.2 years): 10/51 in the beta-blocker group and 9/20 in the other antihypertensive drug group. The freedom from subsequent aortic operation was 80 and 47%, respectively (P=0.001). Indications for emergency surgery were increased aortic diameter (79%), symptomatic aortic aneurysm (11%), and renal artery hypoperfusion (5%). The median hospitalization time during follow-up (dissection-related) was 2 days for patients who received beta-blockers and 16 days for patients who received other antihypertensive drug treatments (P=0.001). The cost of treatment/patient per year amounted to 644 and 12748 euros, respectively.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of patients with chronic type B dissection who receive initial medical management will later need surgery. Long-term treatment with beta-blockers reduces the progression of aortic dilatation, the incidence of subsequent hospital admissions, as well as the incidence of late dissection-related aortic procedures and the cost of treatment. Patients with chronic type B dissection need, in addition to frequent follow-up of aortic diameter, continuous treatment with beta-blocking agents.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aneurysm, Dissecting / drug therapy*
  • Aneurysm, Dissecting / economics
  • Aortic Aneurysm / drug therapy*
  • Aortic Aneurysm / economics
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hospital Costs
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Switzerland


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists