Use of beta-blockers and effects on heart rate and blood pressure post-acute coronary syndromes: are we on target

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Acute Coronary Syndrome; Adrenergic beta-Antagonists; Aged; Blood Pressure; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Female; Heart Rate; Humans; Male; Metoprolol; Middle Aged


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


BACKGROUND: beta-blockers have been shown to benefit patients after myocardial infarction by decreasing mortality, sudden cardiac death, and reinfarction. Although beta-blockers are recommended for all patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) without contraindications, a target heart rate (HR) is recommended only for patients with unstable angina/non ST-elevation myocardial infarction. A contemporary series documenting trends in beta-blocker usage and achieved HR and blood pressures (BP) is not available. The study objectives were to monitor trends in HR and BP in relation to beta-blocker use in a contemporary series of patients with ACS.

METHODS: In this observational study, 300 consecutive patients with proven ACS had HR and BP values collected hourly from admission until hospital discharge and averaged at multiple intervals throughout hospital stay. Data on baseline demographic characteristics, beta-blocker doses, and titration schedules, procedures performed, cardiac regimens, concurrent medical issues, and contraindications to therapy were collected.

RESULTS: Only 5.3% achieved an average HR of 50 to 60 beat/min throughout the hospital stay. Overall, the average HR was 74 beat/min and average BP was 115/64 mm Hg. Admission daily doses of metoprolol averaged 58 mg compared to discharge daily doses of 88 mg; only 52% of patients had dosage increases.

CONCLUSIONS: Although effective levels of BP were maintained during hospitalization for an ACS, target HRs were generally not achieved. Future studies are needed to determine the relationship between treatment objectives and clinical outcomes in the present era of ACS management.

DOI of Published Version



Am Heart J. 2009 Sep;158(3):378-85. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American heart journal

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed