HealthDay News — Clinicians might be overprescribing β-blocker medications to heart patients, according to research published in the August 22 issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Valay Parikh, MD, a cardiology fellow with the North Shore LIJ-Staten Island University Hospital in New York, and colleagues reviewed records for 755,215 heart patients who were treated between January 2005 and March 2013. They focused solely on patients with stable angina without prior history of myocardial infarction (MI) or systolic heart failure undergoing elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). All patients were ≥65 years of age. Of these patients, 71.4% had been prescribed a β-blocker, and the use of β-blockers for PCI patients increased during the eight-year study period.

The team found no significant difference between PCI patients taking β-blockers and those who were not. Three years following surgery, the mortality rate was about the same for the two groups, as were the rates of MI and stroke, the researchers reported. Also, 8.0% of patients taking β-blockers were readmitted to the hospital due to heart failure, compared to 6.1% of patients not on the medication.

“The use of β-blockers in this population should be tailored based on other concomitant cardiovascular conditions and completeness of revascularization,” the authors write.

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