Considerable progress has been made over the last few decades in the management of clinically stable coronary heart disease (SCHD), including improvements in interventions (e.g., percutaneous revascularization), pharmacological management, and risk factor control (e.g., smoking, diet, activity level, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension). Although β blockers have long been used for the treatment of SCHD, their efficacy was established in the era before widespread use of reperfusion interventions, modern medical therapy (e.g., angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers), or preventive treatments (e.g., aspirin, statins). On the basis of these older data, β blockers are assumed beneficial, and their use has been extrapolated beyond patients with heart failure and previous myocardial infarction, which provided the best evidence for efficacy. However, there are no randomized clinical trials demonstrating that β blockers decrease clinical events in patients with SCHD in the modern era. Furthermore, these agents are associated with weight gain, problems with glycemic control, fatigue, and bronchospasm, underscoring the fact that their use is not without risk. In conclusion, data are currently lacking to support the widespread use of β blockers for all SCHD patients, but contemporary data suggest that they be reserved for a well-defined high-risk group of patients with evidence of ongoing ischemia, left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure, and perhaps some arrhythmias.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Beta blockers: what is their role in the management of stable coronary disease today?
From a review in the American Journal of Cardiology: