Age is not a significant risk factor for failed trial of beta-blocker therapy in older patients with chronic heart failure

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    Abstract

    Objectives: to evaluate how well older heart failure patients tolerate beta-blockers in everyday clinical practice. Design: retrospective casenote analysis. Setting: specialist heart failure clinic in a large teaching hospital. Participants: 226 patients with a clinical diagnosis of heart failure and evidence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Measurements: data on age, sex, comorbid illness, other medications, duration of beta-blocker therapy, side-effects and reasons for discontinuation. Results: patients aged 75 years and over had a higher level of comorbid disease and worse New York Heart Association status. Despite this, 60.4% of those aged 75 or over had been tried on a beta-blocker (versus 69% of those aged <75), and of those tried, 80% of those aged 75 or over were still taking a beta-blocker at the time of survey (versus 86% of those aged <75). Forty-seven percent of those aged 75 or over had at least one side-effect recorded (versus 48% of those aged <75). Significant risk factors for failing a trial of beta-blocker therapy were worse New York Heart Association status and worse left ventricular function, but importantly not age. Conclusions: a high proportion of older heart failure patients tolerate beta-blockers. Side-effects and failure rates are comparable to younger patients. Left ventricular function and worse New York Heart Association class, rather than age, predict low tolerability of therapy. Further studies are warranted to evaluate whether frail patients with heart failure can improve their quality of life by taking beta-blockers
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)467-472
    Number of pages6
    JournalAge and Ageing
    Volume33
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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