Prospective crossover comparison of carvedilol and metoprolol in patients with chronic heart failure.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct; 38(4):939-46.JACC
This study investigates the effects of a change of beta-adrenergic blocking agent treatment from metoprolol to carvedilol and vice versa in patients with heart failure (HF).
Beta-blockers improve ventricular function and prolong survival in patients with HF. It has recently been suggested that carvedilol has more pronounced effects on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) compared with metoprolol. It is uncertain whether a change from one beta-blocker to the other is safe and leads to any change of left ventricular function.
Forty-four patients with HF due to ischemic (n = 17) or idiopathic cardiomyopathy (n = 27) that had responded well to long-term treatment with either metoprolol (n = 20) or carvedilol (n = 24) were switched to an equivalent dose of the respective other beta-blocker. Before and six months after crossover of treatment, echocardiography, radionuclide ventriculography and dobutamine stress echocardiography were performed.
Six months after crossover of beta-blocker treatment, LVEF had further improved with both carvedilol and metoprolol (carvedilol: 32 +/- 3% to 36 +/- 4%; metoprolol: 27 +/- 4% to 30 +/- 5%; both p < 0.05 vs. baseline), without interindividual differences. There were no changes in either New York Heart Association functional class or any other hemodynamic parameters at rest. Dobutamine stress echocardiography revealed a more pronounced increase of heart rate after dobutamine infusion in metoprolol- compared with carvedilol-treated patients. After dobutamine infusion, LVEF increased in the carvedilol- but not in the metoprolol-treated group.
When switching treatment from one beta-blocker to the other, improvement of LVEF in patients with HF is maintained. Despite similar long-term effects on hemodynamics at rest, beta-adrenergic responsiveness is different in both treatments.