Background Several β-blockers, with different pharmacological characteristics, are available for heart failure (HF) treatment. We compared Carvedilol (β1-β2-α-blocker), Bisoprolol (β1-blocker), and Nebivolol (β1-blocker, NO-releasing activity). Methods Sixty-one moderate HF patients completed a cross-over randomized trial, receiving, for 2 months each, Carvedilol, Nebivolol, Bisoprolol (25.6 ± 12.6, 5.0 ± 2.4 and 5.0 ± 2.4 mg daily, respectively). At the end of each period, patients underwent: clinical evaluation, laboratory testing, echocardiography, spirometry (including total DLCO and membrane diffusion), O2/CO 2 chemoreceptor sensitivity, constant workload, in normoxia and hypoxia (FiO2 = 16%), and maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test. Results No significant differences were observed for clinical evaluation (NYHA classification, Minnesota questionnaire), laboratory findings (including kidney function and BNP), echocardiography, and lung mechanics. DLCO was lower on Carvedilol (18.3 ± 4.8* mL/min/mm Hg) compared to Nebivolol (19.9 ± 5.1) and Bisoprolol (20.0 ± 5.0) due to membrane diffusion 20% reduction (* = p <0.0001). Constant workload exercise showed in hypoxia a faster VO2 kinetic and a lower ventilation with Carvedilol. Peripheral and central sensitivity to CO2 was lower in Carvedilol while response to hypoxia was higher in Bisoprolol. Ventilation efficiency (VE/VCO2 slope) was 26.9 ± 4.1* (Carvedilol), 28.8 ± 4.0 (Nebivolol), and 29.0 ± 4.4 (Bisoprolol). Peak VO 2 was 15.8 ± 3.6* mL/kg/min (Carvedilol), 16.9 ± 4.1 (Nebivolol), and 16.9 ± 3.6 (Bisoprolol). Conclusions β-Blockers differently affect several cardiopulmonary functions. Lung diffusion and exercise performance, the former likely due to lower interference with β2-mediated alveolar fluid clearance, were higher in Nebivolol and Bisoprolol. On the other hand, Carvedilol allowed a better ventilation efficiency during exercise, likely via a different chemoreceptor modulation. Results from this study represent the basis for identifying the best match between a specific β-blocker and a specific HF patient.
- Ventilation efficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine