Beta Blockers Improved Heart Function

Heart failure patients taking beta blockers lived longer and had better heart function

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Beta blockers are used to treat high blood pressure and heart attack. A recent study looked at research to see if any one beta blocker was better than the others.

Results showed that people taking any type of beta blocker were less likely to die from heart failure. Use of beta blockers was also linked with better heart function.

According to the authors, this research showed that beta blockers of any kind may offer some protection for people with heart failure.

"Ask a doctor which heart medication is right for you."

The study, led by Saurav Chatterjee, MD, a medical resident in the Division of Internal Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, put together data from published trials.

The researchers found 21 trials that compared beta blocker treatment with sugar pill or other treatments. In these 21 trials, there were 23,122 patients who had heart failure and a low ejection fraction.

Ejection fraction is the amount of blood that is pumped out of the heart. It is used as a measure of how well the heart is functioning because it shows how well the heart pumps blood.

The trials included in this analysis used many different beta blockers, including Tenormin (atenolol), Zebeta (bisoprolol), Gencaro (bucindolol), Coreg (carvedilol), Toprol (metoprolol) and Bystolic (nebivolol). 

Putting all the studies together, use of any beta blocker was associated with lower odds of dying during the study follow-up period, compared to sugar pill or other treatments.

The data also showed that people taking beta blockers had about a 4 percent increase in their ejection fraction, meaning people taking beta blockers showed some improvement in their heart’s function.

The researchers also compared the different types of beta blockers to each other. They found that no one beta blocker was better than the others for survival or improving ejection fraction.

The study was limited by the differences in the way the trials were conducted. The amount of time people were followed in the trials also differed.

This study was published January 16 in BMJ. The authors reported no competing interests or funding for the study.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 23, 2013
Last Updated:
January 27, 2013