Aims Beta-blockers improve the prognosis in heart failure (HF), but their introduction may seem impossible in patients dependent on inotropic support. However, many of these patients can be titrated on beta-blockers, but there is little evidence of successful clinical strategies. Methods and results We analysed the records of inotropy-dependent patients referred for assessment for heart transplantation. Thirty-six patients (45%) could not be weaned (NW) and underwent left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation or transplantation, or died. However, 44 (55%) were successfully weaned (SW). Neither the aetiology (ischaemic vs. non-ischaemic) nor cardiac indexes were different in the SW as compared with the NW group (2.27-‰±-‰0.5 vs. 2.15-‰±-‰0.6-‰L/min/m<sup>2</sup>). The NW patients had lower LVEF (15-‰±-‰5% vs. 19-‰±-‰5%, P-‰=-‰0.001), higher right atrial pressure (12-‰±-‰6 vs. 8-‰±-‰6 mmHg, P-‰=-‰0.02), and more severe mitral regurgitation (P-‰<-‰0.001) than the SW patients. At discharge, 35 of 44 SW patients were receiving beta-blockers. In 29 of them, a beta-blocker could only be initiated or continued during concomitant support with i.v. enoximone for a duration of 14.1-‰±-‰7.2 days. Patients discharged on a beta-blocker had an LVAD/transplantation-free cumulative survival of 71% during a follow-up of 2074-‰±-‰201 days (confidence interval 1679-2470). Conclusion It takes time to put severely ill HF patients on beta-blockers and it may require bridging with inotropes which are independent of beta-adrenergic receptors. Whether such a strategy may result in a better clinical outcome warrants further research.

, , ,,
European Journal of Heart Failure

Constantinescu, A., Caliskan, K., Manintveld, O., van Domburg, R., Jewbali, L., & Balk, A. (2014). Weaning from inotropic support and concomitant beta-blocker therapy in severely ill heart failure patients: Take the time in order to improve prognosis. European Journal of Heart Failure, 16(4), 435–443. doi:10.1002/ejhf.39