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Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 11, P1165-1174, November 2021

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Association Between β-Blockers and Outcomes in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: Current Insights From the SwedeHF Registry

      Abstract

      Background

      β-Blockers have an uncertain effect in heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction of 50% or higher (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction [HFpEF]).

      Methods and Results

      We included patients with HFpEF from the Swedish Heart Failure Registry (SwedeHF) enrolled from 2011 through 2018. In a 2:1 propensity-score matched analysis (β-blocker use vs nonuse), we assessed the primary outcome first HF hospitalization, the coprimary outcome cardiovascular (CV) death, and the secondary outcomes of all-cause hospitalization and all-cause death. We performed intention-to-treat and a per-protocol consistency analyses. There were a total of 14,434 patients (median age 79 years, IQR 71–85 years, 51% women); 80% were treated with a β-blocker at baseline. Treated patients were younger and had higher rates of atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease, and higher N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide levels. In the 4412:2206 patient matched cohort, at 5 years, 42% (95% CI 40%–44%) vs 44% (95% CI 41%–47%) had a HF admission and 38% (IQR 36%–40%) vs 40% (IQR 36%–42%) died from CV causes. In the intention-to-treat analysis, β-blocker use was not associated with HF admissions (hazard ratio 0.95 [95% CI 0.87–1.05, P = .31]) or CV death (hazard ratio 0.94 [95% CI 0.85–1.03, P = .19]). In the subgroup analyses, men seemed to have a more favorable association between β-blockers and outcomes than did women. There were no associations between β-blocker use and secondary outcomes.

      Conclusions

      In patients with HFpEF, β-blocker use is common but not associated with changes in HF hospitalization or cardiovascular mortality. In the absence of a strong rational and randomized control trials the case for β-blockers in HFpEF remains inconclusive.

      Bullet points

      ● The effect of β-blockers with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction of 50% or greater is uncertain.● In a propensity score–matched heart failure with preserved ejection fraction analysis in the SwedeHF registry, β-blockers were not associated with a change in risk for heart failure admissions or cardiovascular deaths.

      Lay summary

      The optimal treatment for heart failure with a preserved pump function remains unknown. Despite the lack of scientific studies, β-blockers are very commonly used. When matching patients with a similar risk profile in a large heart failure registry, the use of β-blockers for the treatment of heart failure with a preserved pump function was not associated with any changes in heart failure hospital admissions or cardiovascular death.

      Graphical Abstract

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