The use of beta blockers in congestive heart failure presents a therapeutic challenge for patients with acute episodes of decompensation. Such patients may be less responsive to positive inotropic agents, whereas the beneficial effects of nesiritide, which are not dependent on the beta-adrenergic receptor signal-transduction pathway, may be preserved. This analysis of the Vasodilation in the Management of Acute CHF trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of nesiritide in decompensated congestive heart failure patients receiving beta blockers. The Vasodilation in the Management of Acute CHF trial was a multicenter, randomized, controlled evaluation of nesiritide in 489 hospitalized patients with decompensated congestive heart failure. One hundred twenty-three patients were on chronic beta-blocker therapy at enrollment (31 randomized to placebo, 50 to nesiritide, and 42 to nitroglycerin). Primary end points included pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and dyspnea evaluation at 3 hours. Patients receiving nesiritide, but not IV nitroglycerin, had significantly reduced pulmonary capillary wedge pressure vs. placebo at 3 hours regardless of beta-blocker use. The use of beta blockers did not alter the beneficial effects of nesiritide on systemic blood pressure, heart rate, or dyspnea evaluation. In nesiritide-treated subjects, safety profiles were similar regardless of beta-blocker use. Thus, the clinical and hemodynamic benefits and safety of nesiritide are preserved in decompensated congestive heart failure patients receiving chronic beta blockade.