Beta-blocker therapy in advanced heart failure: clinical characteristics and long-term outcomes.
AIMS: To evaluate the clinical characteristics and long-term outcomes of advanced heart failure patients (NYHA Class IIIb-IV) receiving beta-blocker therapy vs. those patients not receiving beta-blockers at randomization in the FIRST trial, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of epoprostenol vs. usual care in advanced heart failure. METHODS AND RESULTS: The patient population consisted of 471 patients enrolled in FIRST with Class IIIb-IV heart failure, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of <30%, advanced hemodynamic abnormalities, and standard pharmacologic treatment of ACE-inhibitor, diuretics, and/or digoxin. The study cohort consisted of 448 patients not receiving beta-blockers and 23 patients receiving beta-blockers at randomization for the FIRST trial. Patients in the beta-blocker group had decreased rates of any clinical event (P = 0.03), worsening heart failure (P = 0.001), and death or worsening heart failure (P = 0.0008) than patients not receiving beta-blockers. After adjusting for prognostically important variables, the favorable effect of beta-blockers on worsening heart failure (P = 0.02) and death or worsening heart failure (P = 0.02) persisted. CONCLUSION: Patients with advanced heart failure who receive beta-blocker therapy have a lower rate of hospitalization and are less likely to experience worsening heart failure or death at 6 months than patients who are not treated with beta-blockers. These observational data contribute to the growing body of data demonstrating a favorable effect of beta-blockers on clinical outcomes in heart failure.
O'Connor, CM; Gattis, WA; Zannad, F; McNulty, SE; Gheorghiade, M; Adams, KF; Califf, RM; McKenna, WJ; Soler-Soler, J; Swedberg, K
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