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Curr Cardiol Rev. 2012 Feb;8(1):77-84.

Beta blocker use after acute myocardial infarction in the patient with normal systolic function: when is it "ok" to discontinue?

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Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY, USA.


Beta-Blockers [BB] have been used extensively in the last 40 years after acute myocardial infarction [AMI] as part of therapy and in secondary prevention. The evidence for "routine" therapy with beta-blocker use post AMI rests largely on results of trials conducted over 25 years ago. However, there remains no clear recommendation regarding the appropriate duration of treatment with BBs in post AMI patients with normal left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] who are not experiencing angina, or who require BB for hypertension or dysrhythmia. Based on the latest ACC/AHA guidelines, BBs are recommended for early use in the setting of AMI, except in patients who are at low risk and then indefinitely as secondary prevention after AMI. This recommendation was downgraded to class IIa in low risk patients and the updated 2007 ACC/AHA guidelines suggest that the rationale for BB for secondary prevention is from limited data derived from extrapolations of chronic angina and heart failure trials. In this review, we examine the key trials that have shaped the current guidelines and recommendations. In addition, we attempt to answer the question of the duration of BB use in patients with preserved LVEF after acute MI, as well as which subgroups of patients benefits most from post AMI use of beta blockers.

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