Background: Recent scientific data demonstrated a potential beneficial effect of beta-blocker (BB) therapy in cardiac patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our aim was to characterize the use of beta-blockers in these patients, in “real-life” conditions.
Material and methods: We collected retrospectively the data of 60 consecutive cardiac patients (51 men, 9 women, mean age 67 years) with the concomitant diagnosis of COPD: main cardiac conditions, presence and reason of BB therapy, type of drug and dosage, main ECG and echocardiographic parameters, medication and data regarding COPD. Besides descriptive statistics, we compared the data of patients with and without BB therapy (chi-square test, level of significance alpha <0.05) in order to identify factors associated with BB usage.
Results: In our study population, 41.6% of the patients had received BB treatment, the most frequently used drug being bisoprolol 2.5 mg and 5 mg q.d. (28%-28%), followed by carvedilol (32%). The prevalence of BB therapy was 51.2% in heart failure patients (48% in NYHA class III and IV, and 66.6% in dilated cardiomyopathy), 38.4% in hypertension, 81.8% in ischemic artery disease, and 64.7% in subjects with atrial fibrillation. The usage of BB therapy was significantly associated with the presence of heart failure (p = 0.047), dilated cardiomyopathy (p = 0.034), ischemic heart disease (p = 0.005), previous myocardial infarction (p = 0.003) and, inversely, with the acute exacerbation of COPD (p = 0.006).
Conclusions: Despite the fact that every cardiac patient with COPD had a potential indication for BB treatment, this was used insufficiently, especially in case of heart failure patients. In daily practice, there is a need for continuous review and improvement of BB usage in these patients.