Why do patients with congestive heart failure tolerate the initiation of beta-blocker therapy?
BACKGROUND Despite its negative inotropic effects, the initiation of beta-adrenergic blockade is tolerated by patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Accordingly, we examined the acute hemodynamic effects of beta-adrenergic blockade on systolic and diastolic left ventricular (LV) function and ventriculo-arterial coupling. In addition, isolated myocardium from patients with CHF shows selective beta 1-receptor downregulation, implying a greater role for the beta 2-receptor in maintaining in vivo LV contractility. As a secondary aim, we hypothesized that nonselective beta-adrenergic blockade would have greater negative inotropic effect than beta 1-blockade in patients with CHF.
METHODS AND RESULTS Patients with clinical CHF (n = 24) and control patients without CHF (n = 24) were given either the nonselective beta-blocker propranolol or the beta 1-selective blocker metoprolol. LV pressure-volume relations were obtained before and after the administration of intravenous beta-blocker, and measures of LV systolic and diastolic function were examined. Patients with CHF had a deterioration in LV systolic function with a fall in LV systolic pressure (139 +/- 6 to 125 +/- 6 mm Hg), cardiac index (2.56 +/- 0.11 to 2.20 +/- 0.11 mL.min-1 x M-1), dP/dtmax (1173 +/- 63 to 897 +/- 50 mm Hg/s), and end-systolic elastance (0.88 +/- 0.10 to 0.64 +/- 0.10 mm Hg/mL), P < .05 for all. Although there was deterioration of active LV relaxation (isovolumetric relaxation 63 +/- 2 to 73 +/- 3 milliseconds, peak filling rate 543 +/- 33 to 464 +/- 28 mL/s, P < .05 for both), there was no change in passive LV diastolic function (pulmonary capillary wedge, 24 +/- 2 to 24 +/- 1 mm Hg; chamber stiffness, 0.0154 +/- 0.0005 to 0.0163 +/- 0.0005 mL-1, P = NS for both), and a decrease in afterload (arterial elastance 3.85 +/- 0.31 to 3.38 +/- 0.24 mm Hg/mL, P < .05). Control patients had no change in these parameters other than a prolongation of isovolumetric relaxation (48 +/- 1 to 55 +/- 2 milliseconds, P < .05). The effects of propranolol (n = 12) versus metoprolol (n = 12) on these parameters in patients with CHF were similar.
CONCLUSIONS These data do not support a greater in vivo physiological role of the myocardial beta 2-receptor in CHF. The preservation of passive diastolic function and ventriculo-arterial coupling provide possible explanations of why beta-adrenergic blockade is tolerated by patients with CHF.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association