Calcium channel blockers and mortality in elderly patients with myocardial infarction.
BACKGROUND: Although calcium channel blockers are a useful therapy in relieving angina, lowering blood pressure, and slowing conduction of atrial fibrillation, growing evidence has cast doubt on their safety in patients with coronary disease. OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between calcium channel blocker therapy at hospital discharge and mortality in a population-based sample of elderly patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study using data from medical charts and administrative files. SETTING: All acute care hospitals in 46 states. PATIENTS: All Medicare patients with a principal diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction consecutively discharged from the hospital alive during 8-month periods between 1994 and 1995 (N = 141,041). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mortality at 30 days and 1 year. RESULTS: Calcium channel blockers were widely prescribed at hospital discharge to elderly patients with myocardial infarction between 1994 and 1995 (n = 51,921), the most commonly prescribed being diltiazem (n = 21,175), nifedipine (n = 12,670), amlodipine (n = 11,683), and verapamil (n = 3639). After adjusting for illness severity and concomitant medication use, patients who were prescribed calcium channel blockers at hospital discharge did not have increased risk for 30-day or 1-year mortality, with the exception of the few (n = 116) treated with bepridil. Bepridil differs from other calcium channel blockers because of its tendency to prolong repolarization, and its association with proarrhythmic effects in elderly patients. CONCLUSION: We did not identify a mortality risk in a large consecutive sample of elderly patients with myocardial infarction, which supports the need for additional prospective trials examining calcium channel blocker therapy for ischemic heart disease.
Jollis, JG; Simpson, RJ; Chowdhury, MK; Cascio, WE; Crouse, JR; Massing, MW; Smith, SC
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