Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 81–95

Possible indications of beta-blockers in the perioperative period other than prevention of cardiac ischemia

Review Article


According to the guidelines of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association 2006 for perioperative cardiovascular evaluation for non-cardiac surgery, beta-blocker therapy should be considered for high-risk individuals undergoing vascular surgery or high- and intermediate-risk patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. This guideline might induce physicians to increasingly use beta-blockers in the hope of preventing perioperative cardiac complications. However, beta-blockers have potential beneficial effects outside the prevention of cardiac events. In addition to reducing anesthetic and analgesic requirements during the perioperative period, beta-blockers have neuroprotective effects in patients with brain trauma and possible effectiveness in the management of intraoperative awareness-induced post-traumatic stress disorder. Moreover, intrathecal administration of beta-blockers may have antinociceptive effects. Physicians need to bear in mind the benefits of beta-blockers for purposes other than preventing cardiac events when applied in the perioperative period, and they should be familiar with the pharmacodynamics and risk–benefit ratio with their use. This review focuses on possible extracardiac indications of beta-blockers.


Anesthetic requirements Beta-blockers Immunomodulation Intraoperative 


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Graduate School of MedicineGunma UniversityMaebashiJapan

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