Objectives: Our aim was to determine the effect of beta-adrenergic blockade on the prognostic value of peak oxygen consumption testing in patients with heart failure.
Background: Peak oxygen consumption has been shown to be a useful prognostic tool in patients with heart failure. However, studies demonstrating the utility of peak oxygen consumption were conducted before beta-blocker therapy became widespread. Thus, our objective was to determine the effect of beta-blockers on the prognostic value of peak oxygen consumption in patients with heart failure.
Methods: Actuarial, anthropomorphic, hemodynamic and exercise ventilatory data were collected from 369 patients with heart failure. Death and orthotopic heart transplants were the events tracked. Patients were divided into those taking beta-blockers and those not taking them. Event-free survival days were calculated.
Results: One hundred ninety-nine patients on beta-blockers and 170 not on beta-blockers were studied. There were 40 orthotopic heart transplants and 82 deaths during follow-up. Peak oxygen consumption (milliliters per kilogram per minute) trended toward being an independent predictor of event-free survival (p = 0.055). In patients on and not on beta-blockers, a peak oxygen consumption of >14 ml/kg.min was associated with a 1-year event rate of approximately half of that associated with a peak oxygen consumption </=14 ml/kg x min. However, for every level of peak oxygen consumption, the event rate was lower in the group taking beta-blockers.
Conclusions: Beta-blocker status does not change the predictive power of peak oxygen consumption in patients with heart failure, but beta-blocker status is important to consider when using peak oxygen consumption to predict event-free survival in patients with heart failure.