Non-withdrawal of beta blockers in acute decompensated chronic and de novo heart failure with reduced ejection fraction in a prospective multicentre study of patients with acute heart failure in the Middle East
Alsheikh-Ali, Alawi A.
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Objectives: Beta blockers reduce mortality in heart failure (HF). However, it is not clear whether they should be temporarily withdrawn during acute HF. Design: Analysis of prospectively collected data. Setting: The Gulf aCute heArt failuRe rEgistry is a prospective multicentre study of patients hospitalised with acute HF in seven Middle Eastern countries. Participants: 5005 patients with acute HF. Outcome: measures We studied the effect of beta blockers non-withdrawal on intrahospital, 3-month and 12-month mortality and rehospitalisation for HF in patients with acute decompensated chronic heart failure (ADCHF) and acute de novo heart failure (ADNHF) and a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <40%. Results: 44.1% of patients were already on beta blockers on inclusion. Among those, 57.8% had an LVEF <40%. Further, 79.9% were diagnosed with ADCHF and 20.4% with ADNHF. Mean age was 61 (SD 13.9) in the ADCHF group and 59.8 (SD 13.8) in the ADNHF group. Intrahospital mortality was lower in patients whose beta blocker therapy was not withdrawn in both the ADCHF and ADNHF groups. This protective effect persisted after multivariate analysis (OR 0.05, 95% CI 0.022 to 0.112; OR 0.018, 95% CI 0.003 to 0.122, respectively, p<0.001 for both) and propensity score matching even after correcting for variables that remained significant in the new model (OR 0.084, 95% CI 0.015 to 0.468, p=0.005; OR 0.047, 95% CI 0.013 to 0.169, p<0.001, respectively). At 3 months, mortality was still lower only in patients with ADCHF in whom beta blockers were maintained during initial hospitalisation. However, the benefit was lost after correcting for confounding factors. Interestingly, rehospitalisation for HF and length of hospital stay were unaffected by beta blockers discontinuation in all patients. Conclusion: In summary, non-withdrawal of beta blockers in acute decompensated chronic and de novo heart failure with reduced ejection fraction is associated with lower intrahospital mortality but does not influence 3-month and 12-month mortality, rehospitalisation for heart failure,and the length of hospital stay.