Background: Hyperventilation and consequent reduction of ventilation (VE) efficiency are frequently observed during exercise in heart failure (HF) patients, resulting in an increased slope of VE/carbon dioxide (VE/Vco(2)) relationship. The latter is an independent predictor of HF prognosis. beta-Blockers improve the prognosis of HF patients. We evaluated the effect on the efficiency of VE of a beta(1)-beta(2) unselective (carvedilol) versus a beta(1) selective (bisoprolol) beta-blocker.
Methods: We analyzed consecutive maximal cardiopulmonary exercise tests performed on 572 clinically stable HF patients (New York Heart Association class I-III, left ventricle ejection fraction < or =50%) categorized in 3 groups: 81 were not treated with beta-blocker, 304 were treated with carvedilol, and 187 were treated with bisoprolol. Clinical conditions were similar.
Results: The VE/Vco(2) slope was lower in carvedilol- compared with bisoprolol-treated patients (29.7 +/- 0.4 vs 31.6 +/- 0.5, P = .023, peak oxygen consumption adjusted) and with patients not receiving beta-blockers (31.6 +/- 0.7, P = .036). Maximum end-tidal CO(2) pressure during the isocapnic buffering period was higher in patients treated with carvedilol (39.0 +/- 0.3 mm Hg) than with bisoprolol (37.2 +/- 0.4 mm Hg, P < .001) and in patients not receiving beta-blockers (37.2 +/- 0.5 mm Hg, P = .001).
Conclusions: Reduction of hyperventilation, with improvement of VE efficiency during exercise (reduction of VE/Vco(2) slope and increase of maximum end-tidal CO(2) pressure), is specific to carvedilol (beta(1)-beta(2) unselective blocker) and not to bisoprolol (beta(1)-selective blocker).
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