The Effect of β-Blockers for Burn Patients on Clinical Outcomes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Nasreen Hassoun-Kheir*, Oryan Henig, Tomer Avni, Leonard Leibovici, Mical Paul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To assess the effects and safety of β-blockers in hospitalized patients with burns. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. A broad search was conducted to identify all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing β-blockers to control in hospitalized patients with burns. The primary outcome was 3-month all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes were clinical patient-relevant end points. We subgrouped results by children/adults and burn severity. Risk of bias was assessed using the individual domain approach. Results: Four RCTs reported in 11 publications were included. Primary outcome of mortality was assessed in children (2 trials, n = 424) and adults (2 trials, n = 148) with severe burns. No significant difference was found between propranolol and control for mortality (risk ratio [RR] = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.48-1.39, 4 trials with broad confidence intervals in adults and children), sepsis (RR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.46-1.43, 2 trials), and survivors’ length of stay (absolute mean difference = 2.53, 95% CI = −2.58–7.63, 3 trials). There was no significant difference in bradycardia (RR = 1.33, 95% CI = 0.77-2.3, 2 trials), hypotension (RR = 1.26, 95% CI = 0.73-2.17, 3 trials), or cardiac arrhythmia (RR: 2.97, 95% CI: 0.12-71.87, 1 trial). The evidence was graded as very low certainty, due to trial’s internal risk of bias, imprecision, and possible selective reporting. Conclusions: No sufficient evidence was found to support or refute an advantage for β-blocker use in children or adults after burns. Additional studies are needed to create a consensus and formulate practice guidelines on the optimal β-blocker to use, indications for initiation, and duration of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-953
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • burn injury
  • infection
  • mortality
  • patient-relevant outcomes
  • β-blocker


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