Influence of beta-blocker continuation or withdrawal on outcomes in patients hospitalized with heart failure: findings from the OPTIMIZE-HF program

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Jul 15;52(3):190-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2008.03.048.


Objectives: This study ascertains the relationship between continuation or withdrawal of beta-blocker therapy and clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with systolic heart failure (HF).

Background: Whether beta-blocker therapy should be continued or withdrawn during hospitalization for decompensated HF has not been well studied in a broad cohort of patients.

Methods: The OPTIMIZE-HF (Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients with Heart Failure) program enrolled 5,791 patients admitted with HF in a registry with pre-specified 60- to 90-day follow-up at 91 academic and community hospitals throughout the U.S. Outcomes data were prospectively collected and analyzed according to whether beta-blocker therapy was continued, withdrawn, or not started.

Results: Among 2,373 patients eligible for beta-blockers at discharge, there were 1,350 (56.9%) who were receiving beta-blockers before admission and continued on therapy, 632 (26.6%) newly started, 79 (3.3%) in which therapy was withdrawn, and 303 (12.8%) eligible but not treated. Continuation of beta-blockers was associated with a significantly lower risk and propensity adjusted post-discharge death (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.37 to 0.99, p = 0.044) and death/rehospitalization (odds ratio: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.52 to 0.92, p = 0.012) compared with no beta-blocker. In contrast, withdrawal of beta-blocker was associated with a substantially higher adjusted risk for mortality compared with those continued on beta-blockers (HR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2 to 4.6, p = 0.013), but with similar risk as HF patients eligible but not treated with beta-blockers.

Conclusions: The continuation of beta-blocker therapy in patients hospitalized with decompensated HF is associated with lower post-discharge mortality risk and improved treatment rates. In contrast, withdrawal of beta-blocker therapy is associated with worse risk and propensity-adjusted mortality. (Organized Program To Initiate Lifesaving Treatment In Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure [OPTIMIZE-HF]; NCT00344513).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Control
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Withholding Treatment


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists

Associated data