Which subgroup of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy would benefit from long-term beta-blocker therapy? A histologic viewpoint

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1993 Mar 1;21(3):628-33. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(93)90094-h.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to elucidate whether the effectiveness of long-term beta-blocker therapy could be predicted before this therapy is started.

Background: Long-term beta-blocker therapy has recently been reported to provide a favorable effect in treatment of congestive heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy.

Methods: Several measurements including histologic variables before administration of metoprolol were retrospectively compared among 18 good responders (showing improvement of at least one New York Heart Association functional class or an increase in ejection fraction > or = 0.10 12 months after drug administration) and 12 poor responders without such improvement.

Results: Although there were no significant differences between the two groups in age, gender, functional class, heart rate, blood pressure, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, cardiac index, left ventricular end-diastolic dimension and ejection fraction, percent fibrosis estimated by the point-counting method in endomyocardial biopsy specimens was significantly lower in good than in poor responders (7.6 +/- 5.7 vs. 14.2 +/- 9.7%, p < 0.05). Moreover, when the types of fibrosis were classified as interfascicular and intercellular by the dominance of counted points, there were 13 cases of interfascicular fibrosis and 5 cases of intercellular fibrosis in good responders and 1 case of interfascicular fibrosis and 11 cases of intercellular fibrosis in poor responders (p < 0.001, sensitivity 72%, specificity 91%, predictive accuracy 80%). These results suggest that improvement with long-term beta-blocker therapy may be more likely to occur in patients with less myocardial fibrosis, with interfascicular fibrosis the dominant type.

Conclusions: The extent and type of fibrosis may be important factors in the prediction of the effectiveness of long-term beta-blocker therapy for dilated cardiomyopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / drug therapy*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / pathology
  • Echocardiography
  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis / epidemiology
  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metoprolol / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Metoprolol