Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the effects of beta-blocker withdrawal in acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). Background: Published reports showed trends for either no harm or increased risk of in-hospital mortality, short-term mortality, and rehospitalization rates in patients admitted for ADHF that discontinued beta-blockers; however, a comprehensive analysis has not been conducted. Methods: Relevant studies from January 2000 through January 2015 were identified in the PubMed, EMBASE, and COCHRANE electronic databases. Where appropriate data were available, weighted relative risks were estimated using random-effects meta-analysis techniques. Results: Five observational studies and 1 randomized clinical trial (n = 2,704 patients who continued beta-blocker therapy and n = 439 patients who discontinued beta-blocker therapy) that reported the short-term effects of beta-blocker withdrawal in ADHF were included in the analyses. In 2 studies, beta-blocker withdrawal significantly increased risk of in-hospital mortality (risk ratio: 3.72; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.51 to 9.14). Short-term mortality (relative risk: 1.61; 95% CI: 1.04 to 2.49; 4 studies) and combined short-term rehospitalization or death (relative risk: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.03 to 2.45; 4 studies) were also significantly increased. Conclusions: Discontinuation of beta-blockers in patients admitted with ADHF was associated with significantly increased in-hospital mortality, short-term mortality, and the combined endpoint of short-term rehospitalization or mortality. These data suggest beta-blockers should be continued in ADHF patients if their clinical picture allows.
- Acute decompensated heart failure