Beta-Blockers for Acute Myocardial Infarction

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In the list of leading causes of U.S. deaths, heart disease ranks first and stroke ranks third (National Center for Health Statistics, 2008). Heart diseases includes heart attack. The British Heart Foundation (2008) states that myocardial infarction (MI), also known as heart attack or coronary thrombosis, is a disease wherein the heart suddenly loses its blood supply…

Introduction


The term "beta-blocker" is a short form of "beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agents", (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2005) According to the British Heart Foundation (2008), beta-blockers block the action of certain hormones (i.e., adrenaline) that increase the rate and force of heartbeat. In detail, the blockade of beta-1 receptors slows down the heart rate, reduces myocardial contractility, and lowers systemic blood pressure. When used to treat acute myocardial infarction (AMI), it reduces oxygen supply, which is beneficial since this decreases myocardial workload and oxygen demand. Once a person has undergone an MI, regular medication, such as beta-blocker intake, is required for life. For patients with ST-elevation MI, "the highest recommendation (Class I) is given to oral beta-blocker therapy administered promptly to patients without a contraindication" (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2005). For NSTEMI patients, the highest recommendation is also given to beta-blockers, intravenously then orally, if there is no chest pain and no contraindication. ...
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