Early studies of acute beta-blocking drug therapy, such as metoprolol and acebutolol, in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) and survivors of acute myocardial infarction were interpreted to have detrimental or, at best, neutral effects on cardiac and clinical hemodynamics. Subsequent trials of longer duration with metoprolol versus placebo in patients with IDC demonstrated an "exceptional response" to beta-blocker therapy in some individuals. Hemodynamics and patient demographic characteristics appear not to predict those patients who may or may not benefit. Controlled trials with newer beta-adrenoceptor modulating drugs--such as xamoterol, bucindolol, and carvedilol--have been equivocal in some situations. Xamoterol has been associated with progressive heart failure and increased sudden cardiac deaths, whereas bucindolol improved clinical heart failure symptoms and testing hemodynamic parameters, as did treatment with carvedilol, in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy. The success of these agents in patients with congestive heart failure may be in their ability to modulate the excessive myocardial stimulation of the beta-adrenergic nervous system while benefitting the dynamics of the peripheral system.
View details for PubMedID 8096675