The role of beta-blockers in the treatment of patients after infarction.
Several large, prospective, randomized, clinical trials involving more than 11,500 patients testing five beta-blockers with respect to efficacy in reducing mortality after myocardial infarction as well as in preventing recurrent infarctions have been completed. The majority of the studies demonstrated significant mortality reduction when patients were begun on oral beta-blocker therapy prior to discharge from the hospital and maintained on the drug for at least 1 year. Similar benefit has not yet been demonstrated when beta-blockers are instituted parenterally during the early hours of infarction. Most patients should receive, routinely, a beta-blocker at the time of discharge from the hospital after infarction.