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JAMA. 2012 Oct 3;308(13):1340-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.12559.

β-Blocker use and clinical outcomes in stable outpatients with and without coronary artery disease.

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Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA.



β-Blockers remain the standard of care after a myocardial infarction (MI). However, the benefit of β-blocker use in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) but no history of MI, those with a remote history of MI, and those with only risk factors for CAD is unclear.


To assess the association of β-blocker use with cardiovascular events in stable patients with a prior history of MI, in those with CAD but no history of MI, and in those with only risk factors for CAD.


Longitudinal, observational study of patients in the Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) registry who were divided into 3 cohorts: known prior MI (n = 14,043), known CAD without MI (n = 12,012), or those with CAD risk factors only (n = 18,653). Propensity score matching was used for the primary analyses. The last follow-up data collection was April 2009.


The primary outcome was a composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke. The secondary outcome was the primary outcome plus hospitalization for atherothrombotic events or a revascularization procedure.


Among the 44,708 patients, 21,860 were included in the propensity score-matched analysis. With a median follow-up of 44 months (interquartile range, 35-45 months), event rates were not significantly different in patients with β-blocker use compared with those without β-blocker use for any of the outcomes tested, even in the prior MI cohort (489 [16.93%] vs 532 [18.60%], respectively; hazard ratio [HR], 0.90 [95% CI, 0.79-1.03]; P = .14). In the CAD without MI cohort, the associated event rates were not significantly different in those with β-blocker use for the primary outcome (391 [12.94%]) vs without β-blocker use (405 [13.55%]) (HR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.79-1.08]; P = .31), with higher rates for the secondary outcome (1101 [30.59%] vs 1002 [27.84%]; odds ratio [OR], 1.14 [95% CI, 1.03-1.27]; P = .01) and for the tertiary outcome of hospitalization (870 [24.17%] vs 773 [21.48%]; OR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.04-1.30]; P = .01). In the cohort with CAD risk factors only, the event rates were higher for the primary outcome with β-blocker use (467 [14.22%]) vs without β-blocker use (403 [12.11%]) (HR, 1.18 [95% CI, 1.02-1.36]; P = .02), for the secondary outcome (870 [22.01%] vs 797 [20.17%]; OR, 1.12 [95% CI, 1.00-1.24]; P = .04) but not for the tertiary outcomes of MI (89 [2.82%] vs 68 [2.00%]; HR, 1.36 [95% CI, 0.97-1.90]; P = .08) and stroke (210 [6.55%] vs 168 [5.12%]; HR, 1.22 [95% CI, 0.99-1.52]; P = .06). However, in those with recent MI (≤1 year), β-blocker use was associated with a lower incidence of the secondary outcome (OR, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.64-0.92]).


In this observational study of patients with either CAD risk factors only, known prior MI, or known CAD without MI, the use of β-blockers was not associated with a lower risk of composite cardiovascular events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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