Beta Blockers Linked to Longer Life Expectancy in COPD

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease x ray
In a retrospective analysis, researchers examined the efficacy of beta blocker therapy in prolonging patients' lives.
The following article is part of conference coverage from the CHEST 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Visit Pulmonology Advisor’s  conference page for more conference news.

TORONTO — Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who undergo long-term oxygen therapy may experience a longer lifespan when taking beta blocker therapy, according to findings from a randomized retrospective analysis presented at CHEST 2017, held October 28 to November 1 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“There is controversy in the literature about the treatment of ischemic heart disease in patients with COPD,” according to the investigators. “Prior studies for the use of beta blockers in patients with COPD…demonstrated an improved mortality rate in patients with the use of these medications; however, confounding medical problems and their treatments in patients with COPD may make this data inaccurate.”

Investigators compared survival outcomes of patients with COPD (n=405) who received long-term oxygen therapy either with or without beta blockers. Investigators evaluated the rates of hospital readmission as a secondary end point.

The researchers saw an increase in all-cause mortality in patients using beta blockers vs patients who did not; however, these findings were not considered significant (relative risk [RR] 1.059; 95% CI, 0.91-1.23). In patients with COPD receiving beta blockers, the average age at death was 82.89 vs 80.92 in patients receiving placebo (P <.04).

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A subgroup analysis was performed in patients with congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and atrial fibrillation to determine which group had a greater risk for mortality with beta blocker usage. These data were not reported during the session.

The researchers added that no other studies have “investigated the use of beta blockers in patients with COPD on long-term oxygen therapy,” demonstrating the uniqueness of their findings in this patient population.


Matera JT, Mahmood S, Bellam SK. Effect on mortality with the use of beta blockers in COPD patients on long-term oxygen therapy. Presented at: CHEST 2017; October 28-November 1, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Abstract 2746464.