Background: Community patients with heart failure (HF) are older, less often treated by HF specialists, and have more comorbidity than those in randomized clinical trials. These differences might affect beta-blocker prescribing in HF.
Methods: To explore patterns of beta-blocker prescribing for HF in the community and their association with outcomes, we determined carvedilol doses at end titration in 4113 patients from a community-based beta-blocker HF registry according to physician and patient characteristics, HF severity, and rates of hospitalization and death.
Results: Female sex, age > or = 65 years, and left ventricular ejection fraction > or = 35% were associated with lower beta-blocker doses. Average daily dose of beta-blocker was lower with worse baseline New York Heart Association class. More patients of cardiologists achieved carvedilol doses > or = 25 mg twice daily, whereas in those of noncardiologists lower doses were more common. Relative risk of HF hospitalizations or all-cause death was significantly lower with higher doses of beta-blocker.
Conclusions: Beta-blocker dosing in community HF appears lower than in randomized clinical trials, especially when prescribed by noncardiologists. At all doses, patients taking the beta-blocker carvedilol have a lower incidence of death and HF hospitalization than those discontinuing it, regardless of physician type in the community setting.