β-Blockers on Discharge From Acute Atrial Fibrillation Are Associated With Decreased Mortality and Lower Cerebrovascular Accidents in Patients With Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction
The benefits of β-blockers in patients with heart failure (HF) with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) are controversial. The Gulf Survey of Atrial Fibrillation Events was a prospective, multinational, observational registry of consecutive patients with AF recruited from the emergency department (ED). We studied the incidence of 6- and 12-month mortality, hospitalization for HF or AF, and stroke/transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) in patients with HFrEF, in relation to β-blockers on discharge from the ED or the subsequent hospital stay. Of the 344 patients with HFrEF and AF in the GULF-SAFE, 177 patients (53%) were discharged on β-blockers. Mortality was lower in those patients compared with the non-β-blockers group at 6 and 12 months (odds ratios [ORs] 0.31, 95% CI [0.16-0.61]; OR 0.30, 95% CI [0.16-0.55]; P = .001 for both, respectively), so was the risk of stroke/TIAs. However, hospitalizations for AF increased in the β-blockers group. Even after adjustment for several risk variables in 2 different models, the beneficial effect of β-blockers on mortality persisted, at the cost of more hospitalization for AF.