Improvement of exercise-induced left ventricular dysfunction with oral propranolol in patients with coronary heart disease

Alexander Battler, John Ross, Robert Slutsky, Matthias Pfisterer, William Ashburn, Victor Froelicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of propranolol on global cardiac function during exercise was analyzed with equilibrium fadionuclide angiography in 10 patients with ischemic heart disease. All patients had angina pectoris and S-T segment depression of more than 0.1 mv during treadmill exercise when not taking propranolol. Each patient was stressed with supine bicycle exercise to the same work load on a maintenance dose of propranolol (120 to 400 mg/day) and on a second occasion without the drug, the two tests being separated by an average of 16 days. The mean heart rate was reduced both at rest and during exercise after propranolol, but propranolol caused no significant reduction of the left ventricular ejection fraction at rest. In the study without administration of propranolol the average ejection fraction during exercise decreased from 0.56 ± 0.09 (standard deviation) to 0.50 ± 0.14. With propranolol, the ejection fraction was improved from the control value in every patient, the average value during peak exercise reaching 0.60 ± 0.15. Thus, the average ejection fraction increased by 22 percent (±12 percent) relative to the value during the same exercise without propranolol (P < 0.001). In 16 other patients with ischemic heart disease who did not take propranolol, reproducibility of the ejection fraction both at rest and at peak exercise on two occasions within 15 days was good (r = 0.95 and 0.97, respectively). It is concluded that oral propranolol therapy in patients with coronary artery disease can ameliorate left ventricular dysfunction induced by exercise and thereby may reduce myocardial ischemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1979
Externally publishedYes


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