Objective: beta-Blockers were associated with a reduction of mortality and morbidity in noncardiac surgery until recently when the POISE trial showed that beta-blockers could be harmful in the perioperative period because of hypotension and bradycardia. Esmolol is an ultra-short-acting beta-blocker mostly used in emergency and high-risk patients. The authors performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the clinical effects of esmolol in cardiac surgery. Design: Meta-analysis. Setting: Hospitals. Participants: A total of 778 patients from 20 randomized trials. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Result. Three investigators independently searched BioMedCentral and PubMed. Inclusion criteria were random allocation to treatment and comparison of esmolol versus other drugs, placebo, or standard of care in cardiac surgery. Exclusion criteria were duplicate publications, nonhuman experimental studies, and no data on clinical out comes. The use of esmolol was associated with a significant reduction of myocardial ischemia episodes (15/122 [12.2%] in the esmolol group v 36/140 [25.7%] in the control arm, odds ratio [OR] =0.42 [0.23-0.79], p = 0.007) and development of arrhythmias after cardiopulmonary bypass (15/65 [23.07%] v 23/64 [35.9%], OR = 0.42 [0.18-1.01], p = 0.05). The authors did not find a reduction in the use of inotropic drugs in esmolol-treated patients (29/153 [18.9%] v 48/146 [32.8%], OR = 0.43 [0.16-1.10], p = 0.08). Esmolol-treated patients had more episodes of bradycardia (19/129 [14.72%] v 3/133 [2.25%], OR = 5.49 [2.21-13.62], p = 0.0002) and hypotension (28/113 [24.77%] v 14/119 [11.76%], OR = 2.73 (0.83-9.04], p = 0.10). Conclusions: Esmolol reduces the incidence of myocardial ischemia and arrhythmias in cardiac surgery. An increase in bradycardia was noted as well. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
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