Beta blockers are used to slow heart rate, slow the rate of ejection (the shear force) from the heart and reduce blood pressure. They are used routinely to lower blood pressure in people who have had aortic dissections. At the moment, some physicians are using them in people with Vascular EDS to try to reduce the risk of aortic and other arterial abnormalities. Whether it is either rational or effective we do not know. It may be too difficult to do a clinical trial given the relatively small number of affected individuals available. An effort should be made to coordinate data collection.
Celiprolol is a beta blocker that in preliminary research significantly reduced arterial dissections and ruptures, postulated to be as much as a 60% reduction (possibly through strengthening the transforming growth factor beta pathway), although there were some problems with the study. Celiprolol is not available in the US yet. For more, read “Hope for VEDS Treatment?” starting on page 16 of the Spring 2011 issue of Loose Connections, available free from the EDNF.
Ong et al.: “Effect of celiprolol on prevention of cardiovascular events in vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: a prospective randomised, open, blinded-endpoints trial,” The Lancet 376:1476–84, 2010.
Brooke BS: “Celiprolol therapy for vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome,” The Lancet 376:1443-44, 2010.
EDNF’s Clinical Reference Manual: Vascular Type available free here.