Carvedilol as therapy in pediatric heart failure: an initial multicenter experience

J Pediatr. 2001 Apr;138(4):505-11. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2001.113045.


Objective: The objective was to determine the dosing, efficacy, and side effects of the nonselective beta-blocker carvedilol for the management of heart failure in children.

Study design: Carvedilol use in addition to standard medical therapy for pediatric heart failure was reviewed at 6 centers.

Results: Children with dilated cardiomyopathy (80%) and congenital heart disease (20%), age 3 months to 19 years (n = 46), were treated with carvedilol. The average initial dose was 0.08 mg/kg, uptitrated over a mean of 11.3 weeks to an average maintenance dose of 0.46 mg/kg. After 3 months on carvedilol, there were improvements in modified New York Heart Association class in 67% of patients (P =.0005, chi2 analysis) and improvement in mean shortening fraction from 16.2% to 19.0% (P =.005, paired t test). Side effects, mainly dizziness, hypotension, and headache, occurred in 54% of patients but were well tolerated. Adverse outcomes (death, cardiac transplantation, and ventricular-assist device placement) occurred in 30% of patients.

Conclusions: Carvedilol as an adjunct to standard therapy for pediatric heart failure improves symptoms and left ventricular function. Side effects are common but well tolerated. Further prospective study is required to determine the effect of carvedilol on survival and to clearly define its role in pediatric heart failure therapy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Carbazoles / administration & dosage
  • Carbazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Carvedilol
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Propanolamines / administration & dosage
  • Propanolamines / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Carbazoles
  • Propanolamines
  • Carvedilol