Learning About Pre-Op Beta-Blockers

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Beta-blockers help reduce the work the heart does. They do this by slowing your heartbeat and lowering your blood pressure. Some people take beta-blockers before surgery to lower the risk of heart problems after surgery. But beta-blockers are not right for everyone. Whether they are right for you depends on the type of surgery, your health, and your risk of heart problems. If you are having a heart surgery, you might take them to lower your risk of a heart rhythm problem. For other surgeries, you might take them to lower your risk of a heart attack and heart rhythm problems.

Don't take this medicine if you are allergic to any type of beta-blocker. Tell your doctor if you have breathing problems or asthma. Also, tell your doctor if you often have asthma attacks.


These drugs include:

  • Atenolol (Tenormin).
  • Bisoprolol (Ziac).

Possible side effects

You may have some side effects.

  • You may feel tired.
  • You may feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Your body may react in other ways that are not listed here. Read the information that comes with your medicine.

What to know about taking this medicine

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. After surgery, follow your doctor's advice about taking beta-blockers.
  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicine. Tell your doctor all of the medicines you take.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking a beta-blocker. This can cause high blood pressure, a heart attack, or a dangerous heart rhythm.
  • If you have diabetes, watch closely for symptoms of low blood sugar. Beta-blockers can hide your symptoms.
  • If you have asthma, tell your doctor if you feel more short of breath. Beta-blockers can make your symptoms worse.
  • Your doctor may ask you to take your pulse regularly to make sure your heart rate is not too slow.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.