Outcomes of β-blocker use in pulmonary arterial hypertension: a propensity-matched analysis

Bandyopadhyay D, Bajaj NS, Zein J, Minai OA, Dweik RA. Eur Respir J. 2015 Sep;46(3):750-60. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00215514. PMID: 26022959

The utility and safety of β-blockers in pulmonary hypertension is controversial. Anecdotal reports suggest that β-blockers may be harmful in these patients. The aim of our study was to evaluate outcomes of β-blocker use in pulmonary hypertension.We reviewed patients from our pulmonary hypertension registry between 2000 and 2011. Patients who continued to use β-blockers were compared to those who never used β-blockers for all-cause mortality, time to clinical worsening events, defined as death, lung transplantation and hospitalisation due to pulmonary hypertension. We also evaluated the effect of β-blockers on 6-min walking distance and New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class.133 patients used β-blockers and 375 patients never used β-blockers. Mean±sd age was 57±16 years and the median follow-up period was 78 months. Propensity-matched analysis showed that the adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) for mortality with β-blocker use was 1.13 (0.69-1.82) and for clinical worsening events was 0.96 (0.55-1.68). No significant difference was noted in probability of survival and time to clinical worsening events. Patients on β-blockers walked a shorter distance on follow-up 6 min walk test; follow-up NYHA class was similar between groups.Pulmonary hypertension patients receiving β-blockers had a similar survival and time to clinical worsening events compared to patients not receiving them. Functional outcomes were similar, although β-blocker use was associated with a tendency towards shorter walking distance.