Objectives The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of beta blockade on outcome in patients with heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AF).
Background Beta-blockers are widely used in patients with HF and AF. Recommendation in current HF guidelines, however, is based on populations in which the most patients had sinus rhythm. Whether beta-blockers are as useful in AF is uncertain.
Methods Studies were included that investigated the effect of placebo-controlled, randomized beta-blocker therapy in patients with AF at baseline and HF with reduced systolic left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF)
Results We identified 4 studies, which enrolled 8,680 patients with HF, and 1,677 of them had AF (19%; mean 68 years of age; 30% women); there were 842 patients treated with beta-blocker, and 835 with placebo. In AF patients, beta-blockade did not reduce mortality (odds ratio [OR]: 0.86 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.66 to 1.13]; p = 0.28), while in sinus rhythm patients, there was a significant reduction (OR: 0.63 [95% CI: 0.54 to 0.73]; p <0.0001). Interaction analysis showed significant interaction of the effects of beta-blocker therapy in AF versus that in sinus rhythm (p = 0.048). By meta-regression analysis, we did not find confounding by all relevant covariates. Beta-blocker therapy was not associated with a reduction in HF hospitalizations in AF (OR: 1.11 [95% CI: 0.85 to 1.47]; p = 0.44), in contrast to sinus rhythm (OR: 0.58 [95% CI: 0.49 to 0.68]; p <0.0001). There was a significant interaction of the effects of beta-blocker therapy in AF versus that in sinus rhythm (p <0.001).
Conclusions Our findings suggest that the effect of beta-blockers on outcome in HF patients with reduced systolic LVEF who have AF is less than in those who have sinus rhythm. (C) 2013 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation