Secondary left ventricular ejection fraction response to beta blocker therapy in heart failure patients

Pavithra Pattabiraman, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Chronic β-blocker treatment improves survival and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients with systolic heart failure (HF). Data on whether the improvement in LVEF after β-blocker therapy is sustained for a long term or whether there is a loss in LVEF after an initial gain is not known. Our study sought to determine the prevalence and prognostic role of secondary decline in LVEF in chronic systolic HF patients on β-blocker therapy and characterize these patients. Retrospective chart review of HF hospitalizations fulfilling Framingham Criteria was performed at the MEDVAMC between April 2000 and June 2006. Follow up vital status and recurrent hospitalizations were ascertained until May 2010. Three groups of patients were identified based on LVEF response to beta blockers; group A with secondary decline in LVEF following an initial increase, group B with progressive increase in LVEF and group C with progressive decline in LVEF. Covariate adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine differences in heart failure re-hospitalizations and all cause mortality between the groups. Twenty five percent (n=27) of patients had a secondary decline in LVEF following an initial gain. The baseline, peak and final LVEF in this group were 27.6±12%, 40.1±14% and 27.4±13% respectively. The mean nadir LVEF after decline was 27.4±13% and this decline occurred at a mean interval of 2.8±1.9 years from the day of beta blocker initiation. These patients were older, more likely to be whites, had advanced heart failure (NYHA class III/IV) more due to a non ischemic etiology compared to groups B & C. They were also more likely to be treated with metoprolol (p=0.03) compared to the other two groups. No significant differences were observed in combined risk of all cause mortality and HF re-hospitalization [hazard ratio 0.80, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.38, p=0.42]. No significant difference was observed in survival estimates between the groups. In conclusion, a late decline in LVEF does occur in a significant proportion of heart failure patients treated with beta blockers, more so in patients treated with metoprolol.

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Recommended Citation

Pattabiraman, Pavithra, "Secondary left ventricular ejection fraction response to beta blocker therapy in heart failure patients" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1483756.