Beta-blocker use and risk of symptomatic bradyarrhythmias: a hospital-based case-control study

J Geriatr Cardiol. 2016 Sep;13(9):749-759. doi: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2016.09.009.


Objective: To investigate the risk factors of symptomatic bradyarrhythmias in relation to β-blockers use.

Methods: A hospital-based case-control study [228 patients: 108 with symptomatic bradyarrhythmias (cases) and 120 controls] was conducted in Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Malaysia between January 2011 and January 2014.

Results: The mean age was 61.1 ± 13.3 years with a majority of men (68.9%). Cases were likely than control to be older, hypertensive, lower body mass index and concomitant use of rate-controlling drugs (such as digoxin, verapamil, diltiazem, ivabradine or amiodarone). Significantly higher level of serum potassium, urea, creatinine and lower level of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were observed among cases as compared to controls. On univariate analysis among patients on β-blockers, older age (crude OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.03-1.11, P = 0.000), hypertension (crude OR: 5.6; 95% CI: 1.51-20.72, P = 0.010), lower sodium (crude OR: 0.04; 95% CI: 0.81-0.99, P = 0.036), higher potassium (crude OR: 2.36; 95% CI: 1.31-4.26, P = 0.004) and higher urea (crude OR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.11-1.38, P = 0.000) were associated with increased risk of symptomatic bradyarrhythmias; eGFR was inversely and significantly associated with symptomatic bradyarrhythmias in both 'β-blockers' (crude OR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.96-0.98, P = 0.000) and 'non-β-blockers' (crude OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.97-0.99, P = 0.023) arms. However, eGFR was not significantly associated with symptomatic bradyarrhythmias in the final model of both 'β-blockers' (adjusted OR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.96-0.98, P = 0.103) and 'non-β-blockers' (adjusted OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.97-1.01, P = 0.328) arms. Importantly, older age was a significant predictor of symptomatic bradyarrhythmias in the 'β-blockers' as compared to the 'non-β-blockers' arms (adjusted OR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.03-1.15, P = 0.003 vs. adjusted OR: 1.03; 95% CI: 0.98-1.09, P = 0.232, respectively).

Conclusion: Older age was a significant predictor of symptomatic bradyarrhythmias in patients on β-blockers than those without β-blockers.

Keywords: Adverse drug reaction; Beta-blocker; Bradyarrhythmias; Case-control.