A double-blind cross-over trial of the non-selective beta-blocker propranolol and the beta1-selective blocker metoprolol was carried out in 8 hypertensive patients. At the end of each 4-week period of treatment haemodynamic and respiratory indices and perceived exertion were studied during moderate exercise. Both beta-blockers resulted in reduced heart rate, cardiac output, and blood pressure, whereas the stroke volume increased. Total peripheral resistance did not change. During exercise the expiratory peak flow rate equally increased in every period. However, the peak flow rate at rest, as well as during exercise, was reduced by propranolol, while metoprolol had no such influence. Neither of the beta-blockers changed O2 consumption, CO2 production, tidal volume, or respiratory rate. Moreover, they did not influence perceived exertion. These results suggest that the arteriolar and bronchiolar beta2-receptors do not play a major role in the alteration of circulation and ventilation during exercise. As far as their practical use as antihypertensive agents is concerned, this study shows no advantage in the use of either of these beta-blockers.
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