Low Beta Blocker Dose Can Put Patients at Risk for Subsequent Heart Attacks
Posted Oct 14 2010 3:59pm
For nearly 40 years a class of drugs known as beta blockers have been proven to increase patients’ survival prospects following a heart attack by decreasing the cardiac workload and oxygen demand on the heart. In a breakthrough study released in the American Heart Journal, Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Jeffrey J. Goldberger found the majority of patients are frequently not receiving a large enough dose of these drugs, which can put their recovery from heart attacks and overall health into peril.
“Only 46% of patients studied were taking 50% or more of the target dose of beta blockers shown to be beneficial in clinical trials,” said Goldberger, director of cardiac electrophysiology research for the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Furthermore, 76% of patients were still being treated with the same amount of medication given at discharge. This means that for the vast majority of patients, there wasn’t even an attempt to increase their dose.”
Goldberger added that patients not getting the right amount of beta blockers is a problem nationwide. “Beta blockers work to keep patients alive after a heart attack, so proper dosing of beta blockers can save many lives,” said Goldberger.