Preoperative beta-blocker use should not be a quality metric for coronary artery bypass grafting

Damien J. Lapar, Ivan K. Crosby, Irving L. Kron, John A. Kern, Edwin Fonner, Jeffrey B. Rich, Alan M. Speir, Gorav Ailawadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background Preoperative beta-blockade for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has become an accepted hospital quality metric. However, single-institution reports regarding the benefits of beta-blocker (ß-blocker) use are conflicting. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between preoperative beta-blocker use and outcomes within a large, regional cohort. Methods Patient records from a statewide, multi-institutional Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) certified database for isolated CABG operations (2001 to 2011) were extracted and stratified by preoperative ß-blocker use. The influence of preoperative ß-blockers on risk-adjusted outcomes was assessed by hierarchical regression modeling with adjustment for preoperative risk using calculated STS predictive risk indices. Results A total of 43,747 (age, 63 years; ß-blocker 80% versus non ß-blocker 20%) patients were included. Median STS predicted risk of mortality scores for ß-blocker patients were incrementally lower (1.2% vs 1.4%, p < 0.001). Non ß-blocker patients more frequently developed pneumonia (3.5% vs 2.8%, p = 0.001), while ß-blocker patients surprisingly had greater intraoperative blood usage (16% vs 11%, p < 0.001). There was no difference in unadjusted mortality (ß-blocker: 1.9% vs non ß-blocker: 2.2%, p = 0.15). After risk adjustment, preoperative ß-blocker use was not associated with mortality (p = 0.63), morbidity, length of stay (p = 0.79), or hospital readmission (p = 0.97). Conclusions Preoperative ß-blocker use is not associated with risk-adjusted mortality, several measures of morbidity, or hospital resource utilization after CABG operations. Thus, these data suggest that the routine use of preoperative ß-blockers for CABG operations should not be used as a measure of surgical quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1539-1545
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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