b Adrenergic receptor agonists play a major role only in the treatment of bronchoconstriction in patients with asthma (reversible airway obstruction) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Minor uses include management of preterm labor, treatment of complete heart block in shock, and short-term treatment of cardiac decompensation after surgery or in patients with congestive heart failure or myocardial infarction. The chronotropic effect of b agonists is useful in the emergency treatment of arrhythmias such as torsades de pointes, bradycardia, or heart block (see Chapter 34).
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