Beta-blocker therapy in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. CAST Investigators

Am J Cardiol. 1994 Oct 1;74(7):674-80. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(94)90308-5.


The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST) showed antiarrhythmic drug suppression of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic ventricular arrhythmias in survivors of myocardial infarction to be harmful. This study retrospectively searched the CAST results for evidence of mortality and morbidity reduction in patients receiving optional beta-blocker therapy. All enrolled (n = 2,611) and suppressed main study (n = 1,735) CAST patients with an ejection fraction of < or = 40% were examined using univariate analysis, Kaplan-Meier curves, and a Cox proportional-hazards multivariate analysis with respect to optional beta-blocker therapy prescribed at baseline. CAST patients receiving beta-blocker therapy had significantly enhanced survival at 30 days, and at 1 and 2 years of follow-up against all-cause and arrhythmic death or nonfatal cardiac arrest. Multivariate analysis showed beta-blocker therapy to be independently associated with a one-third reduction in arrhythmic death or cardiac arrest (p = 0.036). In CAST patients with a history of congestive heart failure, beta-blocker therapy was independently associated with longer time to occurrence of new or worsened congestive heart failure (p = 0.015). This study supports the secondary preventive benefit of beta-blocker therapy in high-risk post-myocardial infarction patients, and calls attention to the possible preventive benefit of beta-blocker therapy against proarrhythmic events experienced in the CAST.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke Volume
  • Survival Rate


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists