AJR. American journal of roentgenology

Safety of an i.v. β-adrenergic blockade protocol for heart rate optimization before coronary CT angiography.

PMID 25247941


The purpose of this study was to assess the safety of heart rate optimization by use of β-adrenergic blockade solely by the i.v. route before coronary CT angiography. The records of 679 patients undergoing CT coronary angiography after receiving i.v. β-adrenergic blockade were retrospectively analyzed. Health screening was completed before scanning, and heart rate was optimized by administration of i.v. metoprolol titrated to a maximum of 70 mg to achieve a heart rate less than 65 beats/min. The median i.v. dose was 20 mg (range, 5-70 mg). The 679 patients analyzed had a total of 10 complications (1.47%). Major complications, defined as not resolving with observation and analgesia alone, occurred in only three patients (0.44%). These complications included a second-degree atrioventricular block. A total of 299 patients (44.0%) needed more than 20 mg of i.v. metoprolol to achieve target heart rate. Only three patients needed the maximum i.v. dose of 70 mg metoprolol. Target heart rate was reached successfully in 666 patients (98.1%) with doses of less than 70 mg. This study did not show a statistically significant association between increasing complication frequency and increasing dose. This study showed that high doses of i.v. metoprolol can be used effectively and with a low rate of major complications to control heart rate before coronary CT angiography in correctly screened patients.