Beta blockers may benefit individuals suffering from a little-known form of heart failure, called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF), which currently lacks well-established treatment, according to a press release from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. The findings are based on a registry study and are scheduled for publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
HFPEF, a condition in which the heart’s ability to fill with blood is impaired, affects almost 2 percent of the population.
During the study, a Swedish team including researchers from Karolinska Institutet, Linköping University, Stockholm South General Hospital, Danderyd Hospital and Karolinska University Hospital analyzed data from 42,000 patients from the Swedish Heart Failure Registry.
According to the findings, patients with HFPEF who were treated with beta blockers had better survival rates than untreated patients. The difference remained after adjustment for several factors, including patient age, general health, socioeconomic status and other variables. The final decrease in the mortality rate was 7 percent in the group treated with beta blockers.
For a long time, heart failure was defined as the heart’s reduced ability to contract and pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. Now health professionals are realizing that HFPEF is just as common and just as serious. It is more prevalent in senior citizens and affects more women than men.