CVD is the leading cause of death in patients with COPD, with coronary artery disease present in 10-22 per cent of COPD patients.
But the use of beta-blockers is not always advocated in COPD patients because of concerns about possible adverse effects of beta-blockade on airway function.
NICE guidance on COPD management, issued in February 2004, does not make any recommendations for beta-blocker use.
For this latest study , the researchers identified 825 patients, of which 142 were on beta-blockers, admitted between October 1999 and September 2006 to hospital with acute exacerbations of COPD. Patients with a diagnosis of asthma were excluded from the study. Over the duration of the seven-year study, 43 patients died from CVD.
When the mortality rate was compared for those who received beta-blockers and those who did not, they found that beta-blocker use could reduce CVD mortality by 40 per cent compared to no beta-blocker use.
While in a subset of patients with available spirometric data, no significant difference was found between those who received beta-blockers and those who did not in percent predicted FEV1.
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