Current medical research and opinion

Atenolol and ischaemic heart disease: an overview.

PMID 1764953


Data generated to date on the use of beta-blockers, especially atenolol, in ischaemic heart disease are reviewed and compared with the results available with the calcium antagonists. Atenolol appears to be effective as an anti-ischaemic agent in patients with obstructive coronary artery disease when reduction in myocardial oxygen supply (ischaemia not preceded by an increase in heart rate and due presumably to functional coronary stenosis) or increase in demand are the likely causes. Based on current concepts and available data, there is convincing evidence to support the use of atenolol across the spectrum of ischaemic heart disease. In contrast, results with the calcium antagonists have been disappointing and variable. Atenolol, to date, is the only beta-blocker which has been demonstrated to have a life-saving benefit in acute intervention (within 12 hours of onset) in myocardial infarction. This cardioprotective aspect of the drug is likely to be applicable to other areas of ischaemic heart disease, including silent ischaemia.