Extract from the Telegraph:
"Patients taking beta blockers, the cornerstone of treatment for heart disease since the 1970s, are a third more likely to die within a month of surgery and twice as likely to suffer a stroke, a study found.
Dr PJ Devereaux, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who led the research, which was published in the Lancet, said the drugs had cost more lives than they had saved and their use in surgery patients was based on inadequate research.
Guidelines established in 1996 by the American College of Cardiology recommend that beta blockers be used in all operations, except those on the heart. The advice was adopted worldwide but Dr Devereaux claimed that the guidelines were based on the findings of two small studies.
He said: "On a conservative estimate, if 10 per cent of physicians acted on the guidelines in the last decade, it would suggest that 800,000 people died unnecessarily and half a million had major strokes."
Worldwide, about 100 million adults undergo non-cardiac surgery every year and one million suffer major complications.
The use of beta blockers in these circumstances in British hospitals is not thought to be widespread."
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