Body temperature was studied in 65 patients admitted to hospital within four hours of the onset of symptoms of acute myocardial infarction. Thirty three patients had been randomly assigned to intravenous timolol treatment and 32 to placebo treatment. Infarct evolution was assessed by continuous vectorcardiography and creatine kinase release. Maximum and mean temperatures during the first eight days were significantly lower in the timolol group, who were discharged from hospital one day earlier. Eight patients in the placebo group had temperatures of greater than 39 degrees compared with one in the timolol group. Both the mean temperature and the maximum temperature correlated significantly with indices of infarct size and ischaemic area as estimated by cumulative creatine kinase release, QRS vector difference, and ST vector magnitude. The results were consistent with the view that reduction of infarct size may partly explain the reduced pyrexial response after timolol treatment. Other mechanisms are probably also involved in larger infarcts. Because high fever has detrimental haemodynamic effects in acute myocardial infarction, reduction of this response may be beneficial. The results support the early use of beta adrenoceptor blockade in acute myocardial infarction.
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