Recent studies suggest that the use of preoperative β blockers in cardiac surgery may not provide improved mortality rates and may even contribute to negative clinical outcomes. We therefore assessed the role of β blockers on several outcomes after cardiac surgery (delirium, acute kidney injury [AKI], stroke, atrial fibrillation (AF), mortality, and hospital length of stay) in 4,076 patients who underwent elective coronary artery bypass grafting, coronary artery bypass grafting + valve, or valve cardiac surgery from November 1, 2009, to September 30, 2015, at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Clinical data from 2 prospectively collected datasets at our institution were reviewed: the Cardiac Surgery Perioperative Outcomes Database and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Database. Preoperative β-blocker use was defined by Society of Thoracic Surgeons guidelines as patients receiving a β blocker within 24 hours preceding surgery. Of the included patients, 2,648 (65.0%) were administered a β blocker within 24 hours before surgery. Adjusting for possible confounders, preoperative β-blocker use was associated with increased odds of AKI stage 2 (odds ratio 1.96, 95% confidence interval 1.19 to 3.24, p <0.01). There was no evidence that β-blocker use had an independent association with postoperative delirium, AKI stages 1 and 3, stroke, AF, mortality, or prolonged length of stay. A secondary propensity score analysis did not show a marginal association between β-blocker use and any outcome. In conclusion, we did not find significant evidence that preoperative β-blocker use was associated with postoperative delirium, AF, AKI, stroke, or mortality.
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