Cardiovascular (CVS) comorbidities are common in COPD and contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality, especially following acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD). Beta-blockers (BBs) are safe and effective in COPD patients, with demonstrated survival benefit following myocardial infarction. We sought to determine if BBs are under-prescribed in patients hospitalized with AECOPD. We also sought to determine inpatient rates of CVS and cerebrovascular complications, and their impact on patient outcomes.
Retrospective hospital data was collected over a 12-month period. The medical records of all patients >40 years of age coded with a diagnosis of AECOPD were analyzed. Prevalent use and incident initiation of BBs were assessed. Comorbidities including indications and contraindications for BB use were analyzed.
Of the 366 eligible patients, 156 patients (42.6%) had at least one indication for BB use – of these patients, only 53 (34.0%) were on BB therapy and 61 (39.1%) were not on BB therapy but had no listed contraindication. Prevalent use of BBs at the time of admission in all 366 patients was 19.7%, compared with 45.6%, 39.6% and 45.9% use of anti-platelets, statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin II receptor blockers, respectively. CVS and cerebrovascular complications were common in this population (57 patients, 16%) and were associated with longer length of stay ( p<0.01) and greater inpatient mortality ( p=0.02).