Contraindications to Beta Blockers Linked to Deaths

Prevalence increases with increasing age in patients with acute coronary syndromes

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Contraindications to early beta-blocker use become more common with increasing age and are associated with a higher risk of hospital death in patients with acute coronary syndromes, according to a study in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Nancy M. Allen LaPointe, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C., and colleagues assessed the association between reported contraindications to early beta-blocker use and mortality based on age in 112,448 patients hospitalized for non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome.

The researchers found that 10.4 percent of patients had contraindications, with the prevalence increasing with age, from 7.9 percent in patients 65 years or younger to 13.4 percent in patients 75 years or older. Regardless of age, there was a higher risk of in-hospital mortality in those with contraindications to early beta-blocker use compared with those without contraindications who received a beta blocker (adjusted odds ratio, 2.07 to 2.81 depending on age).

"The reported contraindications to early beta-blocker use were common and increased with age," the authors write. "The contraindications were independently associated with greater in-hospital mortality, underscoring the importance of accurately identifying contraindications."

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