Influence of Beta-Blocker Continuation or Withdrawal on Outcomes in Patients Hospitalized With Heart Failure. Findings From the OPTIMIZE-HF Program

Gregg C. Fonarow*, William T. Abraham, Nancy M. Albert, Wendy Gattis Stough, Mihai Gheorghiade, Barry H. Greenberg, Christopher M. O'Connor, Jie Lena Sun, Clyde W. Yancy, James B. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study ascertains the relationship between continuation or withdrawal of beta-blocker therapy and clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with systolic heart failure (HF). Background: Whether beta-blocker therapy should be continued or withdrawn during hospitalization for decompensated HF has not been well studied in a broad cohort of patients. Methods: The OPTIMIZE-HF (Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients with Heart Failure) program enrolled 5,791 patients admitted with HF in a registry with pre-specified 60- to 90-day follow-up at 91 academic and community hospitals throughout the U.S. Outcomes data were prospectively collected and analyzed according to whether beta-blocker therapy was continued, withdrawn, or not started. Results: Among 2,373 patients eligible for beta-blockers at discharge, there were 1,350 (56.9%) who were receiving beta-blockers before admission and continued on therapy, 632 (26.6%) newly started, 79 (3.3%) in which therapy was withdrawn, and 303 (12.8%) eligible but not treated. Continuation of beta-blockers was associated with a significantly lower risk and propensity adjusted post-discharge death (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.37 to 0.99, p = 0.044) and death/rehospitalization (odds ratio: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.52 to 0.92, p = 0.012) compared with no beta-blocker. In contrast, withdrawal of beta-blocker was associated with a substantially higher adjusted risk for mortality compared with those continued on beta-blockers (HR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2 to 4.6, p = 0.013), but with similar risk as HF patients eligible but not treated with beta-blockers. Conclusions: The continuation of beta-blocker therapy in patients hospitalized with decompensated HF is associated with lower post-discharge mortality risk and improved treatment rates. In contrast, withdrawal of beta-blocker therapy is associated with worse risk and propensity-adjusted mortality. (Organized Program To Initiate Lifesaving Treatment In Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure [OPTIMIZE-HF]; NCT00344513).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-199
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 15 2008


  • beta-blockers
  • heart failure
  • mortality
  • registry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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