Effects of β-blockers on ventilation efficiency in heart failure

Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Anna Apostolo, Gaia Cattadori, Elisabetta Salvioni, Giovanni Berna, Laura Antonioli, Carlo Vignati, Mauro Schina, Susanna Sciomer, Maurizio Bussotti, Pietro Palermo, Cesare Fiorentini, Mauro Contini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hyperventilation and consequent reduction of ventilation (VE) efficiency are frequently observed during exercise in heart failure (HF) patients, resulting in an increased slope of VE/carbon dioxide (VE/Vco2) relationship. The latter is an independent predictor of HF prognosis. β-Blockers improve the prognosis of HF patients. We evaluated the effect on the efficiency of VE of a β12 unselective (carvedilol) versus a β1 selective (bisoprolol) β-blocker. Methods: We analyzed consecutive maximal cardiopulmonary exercise tests performed on 572 clinically stable HF patients (New York Heart Association class I-III, left ventricle ejection fraction ≤50%) categorized in 3 groups: 81 were not treated with β-blocker, 304 were treated with carvedilol, and 187 were treated with bisoprolol. Clinical conditions were similar. Results: The VE/Vco2 slope was lower in carvedilol- compared with bisoprolol-treated patients (29.7 ± 0.4 vs 31.6 ± 0.5, P = .023, peak oxygen consumption adjusted) and with patients not receiving β-blockers (31.6 ± 0.7, P = .036). Maximum end-tidal CO2 pressure during the isocapnic buffering period was higher in patients treated with carvedilol (39.0 ± 0.3 mm Hg) than with bisoprolol (37.2 ± 0.4 mm Hg, P <.001) and in patients not receiving β-blockers (37.2 ± 0.5 mm Hg, P = .001). Conclusions: Reduction of hyperventilation, with improvement of VE efficiency during exercise (reduction of VE/Vco2 slope and increase of maximum end-tidal CO2 pressure), is specific to carvedilol (β12 unselective blocker) and not to bisoprolol (β1-selective blocker).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1073
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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