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hi, I am on the lowest dose of bisoprolol whilst awaiting a cardiac nuclear test following a "grey area" result from the treadmill test. (I don't want an angiogram at this stage due to it being very invasive).Can anyone tell me if bisoprolol causes undue breathlessness. Even climbing the stairs now I get breathless also when I get a bit stressed I get it too. This wasn't happening five weeks ago when I was on the treadmill for over 7 minutes. I only felt breathless at the very end when my heart rate went up to 167bpm. The recovery from that took a little while so that is why I'm having a follow-up test which no-one in the medical field thinks warrants an urgent appointment!!. Good news then! But.....ever since I've been on bisoprolol I get this feeling of being out of breath and it's getting me down. I WILL make an appointment with my gp but just wondered if anyone else on here suffers with this as a side effect of bisoprolol. Or maybe it's just me......I'm 71 admittedly but this just wasn't happening before the treadmill test.

22 Replies


I am 67, had an echo cardiogram and a electro cardiogram (stress test on a tread mill), during the stress test my BP went up very high, after the test it came back to normal for my age. I am afraid you need to visit your GP to check on your medication and may be find a different one. For me angiogram is the next step, waiting to see my GP. From what I have found out from doctors in my family angiogram can give a better indication compared to other tests!

Good luck.


yes it can but my cardiologist told me it's invasive and with risks -- he only told me that because I told him I was so nervous at having it done and asked him id there was any other test. I'm booked for a nuclear test but IF that shows dodgy ground then yes I will have to bite the bullet and have an angiogram.



Please explain to me the difference between Nuclear Heart Scan and angiogram. To me both tests needs a path through the vain!


What Is a Nuclear Heart Scan?

A nuclear heart scan is a test that provides important information about the health of your heart.

For this test, a safe, radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into your bloodstream through a vein. The tracer travels to your heart and releases energy. Special cameras outside of your body detect the energy and use it to create pictures of your heart.

Nuclear heart scans are used for three main purposes:

•To check how blood is flowing to the heart muscle. If part of the heart muscle isn't getting blood, it may be a sign of coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD can lead to chest pain called angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh), a heart attack, and other heart problems. When a nuclear heart scan is done for this purpose, it's called myocardial perfusion scanning.

•To look for damaged heart muscle. Damage might be the result of a previous heart attack, injury, infection, or medicine. When a nuclear heart scan is done for this purpose, it's called myocardial viability testing.

•To see how well your heart pumps blood to your body. When a nuclear heart scan is done for this purpose, it's called ventricular function scanning.

Usually, two sets of pictures are taken during a nuclear heart scan. The first set is taken right after a stress test, while your heart is beating fast.

During a stress test, you exercise to make your heart work hard and beat fast. If you can't exercise, you might be given medicine to increase your heart rate. This is called a pharmacological (FAR-ma-ko-LOJ-ih-kal) stress test.

The second set of pictures is taken later, while your heart is at rest and beating at a normal rate.


Why wasn't I given the choice between an exercise stress test on a treadmill and the chemically induced myocardial perfusion stress test? I found the latter extremely scary and uncomfortable; my heart has never seemed the same since. I would never have this procedure done again, they will have to find another way.


ohhh -- why did you find it scary? I'm sorry you did. That must have been horrible for you and still is judging by what you say. You've got ME worried now.....what was so scary about it? What happened?


Hi Sarah, When I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure I was not prescribed a beta blocker because I had asthma. However since I had an angiogram followed by an angioplasty this year I have been prescribed Bisoprolol in addition to my other BP meds as my asthma is not severe. It slows the heart rate and initially causes fatigue and some breathlessness. After a couple of weeks I found that I felt better, although it is still difficult to identify if any breathlessness I experience now is caused by asthma, heart disease or the Bisoprolol.


yes I know what you mean.....


I've been on Bisprolol for over a year now following an angiogram with no problems.


Hi Sarah

My husband is on 10mg of bisprolol which started at the lower dose and then gradually upped. He is on a lot of other tablets but we do know it can make you breathless, however in his case like another writer said when on a lot of tablets its hard to find the culprit. He was told for his condition, 2 heart attacks, 8 stents, heart failure, stroke,ICD pacemaker, arythmia, that he had to be on the highest dose, so whatever he had to take he took. We tried different variations of medicines over a period of time to get it right but we got there in the end. I know you must be worried about the angiogram but if you have to have one my husband says its not bad and the info provided is very accurate, best of luck


thank you, it's just the risk factors that terrify me. The percentage of people having life-changing events as a result of something going wrong during the procedure is very small but still happens. Even my cardiologist pointed that out for some I'm sticking with the nuclear test for the time being and what will be will be I guess.........I placed this post because of the feeling of huge lethargy going up even the slightest incline and breathlessness when I walk very fast. This didn't happen before the medication but as you all say it could be due to several things. I somehow doubt the lowest dose of bisoprolol could make someone feel like this so maybe it's my heart after all :(


Hi Sarah, I know the whole health thing can be terrifying, and yes you do hear of problems, but in my experience, and I have spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms and people get chatting, they are very rare. Your cardiologist has to tell you the risks its his duty, but do stick with your tests if you are more comfortable with that, after all its your body and you must do what you are happiest with, thats very important. If in the future you need anything else trust your cardiolgist and his advice, but there are risks in everything, my husbands angiogram saved his life. In my opinion bisoprosol (and its only my opinion) can have a tiring effect at any dosage, ask if there is something else you could have instead to try, you never know. As mentioned you do have to try different things to get whats right for you. Best wishes x


I take Bisporol with no side affects at the moment, started taking it beginning of 2012. I take it with 2 other drugs. All drugs affect people in different ways, but I would be more inclined to believe it's the heart, do take care and get it sorted soon.


Hi Sarah,

I was given bisoprolol for atrial fibrillation 2.5 mg .

After only one tablet I was out of breath walking up even a slight incline and had pain across the top of my back. Walking on the level I had no problems.

The dose was reduced to 1.25mg which helped a little but I changed to a calcium channel blocker after 6 months which suits me much better.

Hope all goes well for you.



Bisoprol makes me a bit breathless but less so than Atenolol

I think the med bods have now got to point out the possible problems with angiogram in the same way as tablets do on the included leaflet and I expect its to to with litigation etc

Am having my angiogram on tuesday so trying hard not to keep thinking of bad outcomes and will just be glad to get to the bottom of it and throw away those blakety blank pills !!!


good luck for Tuesday!!! :)


Thanks Sarah


Heart UK Administrators,

What are your views? Angiogram or cardiac nuclear test?. Bisoprol Or Atenolol?

The replies suggest we all need a better understanding from GP and Cardiologist!


Hiya I'm on a low dose 1.25 of the same drug, I must admit I don't get breathless.Ive been on it for quite a while.

I was on a higher dose which made me very lethargic

.So I spoke to the Cardiologist who reduced the dose I have no side effects at all.

I would suggest you go back to your GP and find out the problem Aneamia can make you breathless, do you suffer from Angina? Best advice I would give is see your GP.He is the best person to see.Is he a good Dr ?

Good luck and post on hear how yo get on.

PS After The treadmill results which I had the cardiologist said about having an angiogram but I'm against that (although after my MI I had to have one) but it's a bit my opinion OF Course if a Dr said you must have one then that is very different.

So I had to wait about 8months and went to the Heart Hospital in London for a special MRI .which when you have that you have drugs given to you via a pump but I'm not an expert And we all have very different problems with the heartGood Luck


Thank you for all that Jeanne 12. I'm now on an antidepressant -- sertraline -- which has helped my palpitations in general and taken quite a bit of my anxiety away thank goodness. Though I still feel anxious some days. My GP admitted that Bisoprolene can make you breathless IF you are sensitive to it. I think I must have been.


Hi Sarah I know that when you get anxious it does affect you as I wasn't well for almost 10 weeks as I had chest infection,then got the flu(was due to get flu jab the same time I became unwell) and chronic sinusitis a had in total 7 lots of antibiotics and steroids and to top it off became anaemic which I had never been before and I must say I didn't realise how it affects you!!In the middle of all this I had 2 (funny turns ) which I thought was angina ( saw my GP who said although most of the symptoms were just like Angina it wasn't she said it was probably because I was worried and anxious as being ill for so long I really thought I had something seriously wrong . I was only 53 yrs old when the MI I had an angiogram and the LAD. Was narrowed ,but didn't need stent so I just keep taking the tablets and and am perfectly well. (Most drugs that are prescribed all have some side effects but don't affect everyone it's finding the ones that suit you if they don't always

Go back to your GP

The best thing is walking if you are well enough makes you feel better as I've got dogs who need a walk and does me good as the same time good luck


I honestly think its the tests themselves that cause more problems, bisoprolol make me very tired. Following the chemically induced heart test, where you sit wired to a chair and the injections make your heart beat out of your chest, I was never the same again! I would have preferred the treadmill, at least you have more control and can stop. I would never have that test again, its torture!


I honestly think its the tests themselves that cause more problems, bisoprolol make me very tired. Following the chemically induced heart test, where you sit wired to a chair and the injections make your heart beat out of your chest, I was never the same again! I would have preferred the treadmill, at least you have more control and can stop. I would never have that test again, its torture!


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