Beta-blockers for heart failure: Why you should use them more

HT Ong Heart Clinic, Penang, Malaysia.
The Journal of family practice (Impact Factor: 0.89). 08/2011; 60(8):472-7.
Source: PubMed


Many physicians are afraid to prescribe beta-blockers for patients with heart failure. Yet in most cases, not prescribing them is a mistake.

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    ABSTRACT: Stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors in the heart is the most effective endogenous way to increase the mechanical performance of cardiac tissues to meet the requirements of a fight-or-flight situation or stress. On the other hand, sustained activation of cardiac β-receptors initiates maladaptive remodeling of the myocardium leading to cardiomyopathies and heart failure. Since both acute and chronic stimulation of β-adrenoceptors are arrhythmogenic, the application of β-receptor blockers exerts effective antiarrhytmic actions at both short and long time scale. Compared to other classes of antiarrhythmic agents, β-blockers are the class of antiarrhythmics that was shown to decrease mortality in postinfarct patients. Chemical, physiological, and pharmacological properties of the β-adrenoceptor related signaling, the role of β-1, β-2, and β-3 receptor subtypes, consequences of acute and long term β-adrenergic stimulation and the underlying proarrhythmic mechanisms, including the changes in cardiac ion currents and Ca2+ handling, are reviewed in this paper together with the clinical relevance of cardioprotective β-blocking therapy.
    Current Pharmaceutical Design 10/2014; 21(8). DOI:10.2174/1381612820666141029111240 · 3.45 Impact Factor