Preventive effect of beta-blockers in the development of aortic dilation in giant cell arteritis-related aortitis

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2022 Dec:57:152117. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2022.152117. Epub 2022 Oct 24.


Objectives: To analyze whether beta-blockers (BBs), in addition to conventional care, can decrease the risk of aortic dilation in giant-cell arteritis (GCA)-related aortitis.

Methods: We conducted in a single medical center retrospective study including 65 consecutive patients with GCA-related aortitis who all underwent aortic morphology control during follow-up. The impact of previous cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and/or events on BB prescription and on the risk for new aortic dilation was analyzed using a weighted (8-point maximum) score between 0 (i.e., 0/8 CV risk factors and events) and 1 (i.e., 8/8).

Results: Among the 65 patients with GCA-related aortitis, 15 (23%) were taking BBs before GCA diagnosis and continued them thereafter. The vascular score was significantly higher in patients who received BBs (0.25 [0.125-0.625] vs. 0.125 [0-0.625] in patients without BBs, p < 0.0001). The median follow-up was 91 [25-163] months in GCA patients taking BBs and 61 [14-248] months in patients not taking BBs (p = 0.13). None of the patients taking BBs developed a new aortic dilation, whereas 15 (15/50; 30%) patients not taking BBs did (p = 0.01), as detected at a median time of 38 [6-120] months after the first imaging. Rates of other CV events during follow-up did not differ between the groups (p = 1).

Conclusions: This study is the first to suggest that BBs in addition to conventional care in patients with GCA-related aortitis may help to prevent the risk of aortic dilation during follow-up. Larger-sized studies are required to confirm these results.

Keywords: Aortic dilation; Beta-blockers; Giant cell arteritis; Large vessel vasculitis; Prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Diseases*
  • Aortitis* / complications
  • Aortitis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortitis* / drug therapy
  • Dilatation
  • Giant Cell Arteritis* / complications
  • Giant Cell Arteritis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Giant Cell Arteritis* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies