Preoperative beta-blockade for patients undergoing craniotomy: a comparison between propranolol and atenolol

  • Richard A. W. Allberry
  • Helen F. Drake
Reports of Investigation


This study was undertaken to establish if beta-blocking drugs given orally before surgery could reduce the pressor responses to laryngeal instrumentation and tracheal intubation in neurosurgical patients. Forty-two neurosurgical patients undergoing craniotomy were randomized into three groups. Groups 1 and 2 received atenolol (100 mg) and propranolol (80 mg) respectively. Group 3 were controls and given no beta-blockers. A standard anaesthetic technique was used and blood pressure and heart rate were measured continuously from induction of anaesthesia until five minutes after tracheal intubation. There were increases in both heart rate and systolic blood pressure in all three groups but the rises in the treated groups were significantly less than in the control group (P < 0.01). There were no significant differences in the haemodynamic responses between the propranolol and atenolol treated patients.

Key words

anaesthesia: neurosurgical complications: cardiovascular, hypertension, tachycardia intubation, tracheal: complications sympathetic nervous system: beta-adrenergic antagonists, propranolol, atenolol 


Cette étude fut entreprise afin d’élablir si les bêta-bloqueurs oraux avanl la chirurgie peuvent diminuer l’hypertension due à l’instrumentation laryngée et l’intubation trachéale en neurochirurgie. Quarante-deux patients devant subir une craniotomie ont été randomisés en trois groupes. Les groupe 1 et 2 out reçu de l’aténolol (100 mg) et du propranolol (80 mg) respectivement. Pour le groupe 3 (contrôle) aucun bêta-bloqueur ne fut administré. Une technique anesthésique standard fut utilisée et la pression artérielle et la fréquence cardiaque furent mesurées continuellement à partir de l’induction de l’anesthésie jusqu’ à cinq minutes après l’intubation trachéale. On nota une augmentation de la fréquence cardiaque et de la pression artérielle systolique chez tous les patients des trois groupes mais cette augmentation chez les groupes traités était significativement moindre chez le groupe controle (P < 0.01). Il n’y avait aucune différence significative dans les réponses hémodynamiques entre propranolol et aténolol chez ces patients.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. W. Allberry
    • 1
  • Helen F. Drake
    • 1
  1. 1.National Hospital for Nervous DiseasesLondon

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