[Organprotection in cardiac risk patients--rational of perioperative beta-adrenoceptor-antagonists and statins].

Research paper by Robert R Hanss, Berthold B Bein

Indexed on: 14 Apr '10Published on: 14 Apr '10Published in: Anasthesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Notfallmedizin, Schmerztherapie : AINS


The number of patients with limited organ function is steadily increasing due to the aging of the population. Consequently, a growing number of patients needing surgery is accompanied by serious comorbidities. These patients are at high risk of perioperative organ dysfunction. In this context cardiac events (e.g. cardiac arrhythmias, angina or myocardial infarction) play a major role with significant impact on postoperative care, long term outcome and economic sequelae. Thus, anaesthesiologists must prevent such events in the perioperative period. Besides general measures such as adequate analgesia, protection from stressful events and sufficient volume replacement, medical intervention with beta-blockers or HMG-CoA-reductase-inhibitors (statins) are necessary to reduce the incidence of perioperative cardiac events. Both beta-blockers and HMG-CoA-reductase-inhibitors are known to exhibit pleiotropic effects (defined as additional cardioprotective effects) besides the primary blockade of the beta-adrenergic receptor or the inhibition of the synthesis of serum cholesterol, respectively. Both groups of drugs improve cardiac function, decrease inflammatory response, decrease activation of blood coagulation and stabilize endothelial plaques. Based on the current literature the following recommendations are published concerning the perioperative administration of beta-blockers: (i) Patients who are on beta-blockers on a regular basis following guidelines concerning chronic treatment of cardiovascular diseases should continue this medication throughout the perioperative period; (ii) a sufficient indicator of an adequate therapy is the baseline heart rate. It should not exceed 60-70bpm at rest; (iii) the Revised Cardiac Risk Index (RCRI) is a widely accepted score to estimate the patient's perioperative cardiac risk; (iv) patients with a RCRI > or =3 should not be scheduled for routine surgery without sufficient beta-adrenergic-receptor blockade; (v) in patients at high cardiac risk based on the RCRI who are scheduled for emergency surgery beta-blocker-therapy should not be initiated de novo perioperatively. However, for perioperative treatment of tachycardia or hypertension beta-blockers are the drug of first choice. Concerning perioperative statin-therapy the following recommendations are suggested: (i) chronic statin-therapy should be continued throughout surgery and the perioperative period; (ii) in patients without chronic statin-therapy scheduled for vascular surgery this treatment should be started perioperativly; (iii) no data is available concerning other patient populations; (iv) if statin-therapy is indicated it should be started independently from baseline serum LDL-C-concentration; (v) side effects of statin-therapy are rare and usually not live threatening, thus treatment is considered to be without serious risks to the patient.