SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, June 4, 2015
THURSDAY, June 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- People with high blood pressure who resume taking their medication soon after surgery may have a lower risk of complications and death, a new study suggests.
Researchers reviewed information from more than 30,000 patients taking a particular type of high blood pressure medication before surgery. All were taking drugs from a class of medications known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). These drugs are widely used to treat high blood pressure.
None of the surgeries was for heart-related problems, according to the researchers.
About one-third of those people didn't restart taking their high blood pressure medication within two days of surgery. The study found this group was linked to a higher risk of death within 30 days compared to people who immediately resumed their medication.
The increased risk of death in people who didn't start taking their blood pressure medication within two days after surgery was highest in people under 60.
The study also revealed that people who quickly restarted their drug regimen had lower rates of infection, pneumonia, heart failure and kidney failure. Though a cause-and-effect link was not established, this association suggests that getting back on these medications right away may reduce complications after surgery, according to the researchers.
The study was published online in the journal Anesthesiology.
"Sometimes doctors briefly stop ARB medications around the time of surgery because they are known to cause low blood pressure while under general anesthesia, which can be dangerous for the patient," said lead author Dr. Susan Lee in a news release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. She is a clinical instructor in the department of anesthesia and perioperative care at University of California, San Francisco.
Lee said this study shows how important it is to get back on your usual medications as soon as possible after surgery.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about high blood pressure medications.