Relation of mortality to failure to prescribe beta blockers acutely in patients with sustained ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation following acute myocardial infarction (from the VALsartan In Acute myocardial iNfarcTion trial [VALIANT] Registry).Am J Cardiol. 2008 Dec 01; 102(11):1427-32.AJ
Sustained ventricular arrhythmias and heart failure are well-recognized complications after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and have been associated with worse outcomes and increased mortality. The use of and outcomes associated with acute beta-blocker therapy in patients with AMI complicated by sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) and heart failure were investigated. Of 5,391 patients in the VALIANT Registry, sustained VT/VF occurred in 306 (5.7%), with an in-hospital mortality rate of 20.3%. Multivariable logistic regression identified sustained VT/VF as a major predictor of in-hospital death (relative risk 4.18, 95% confidence interval 2.91 to 5.93). Of those with sustained VT/VF, 55.2% were treated with intravenous or oral beta blockade in the first 24 hours. After adjusting for baseline characteristics, propensity for acute beta-blocker use, and the interaction between Killip classification and beta-blocker therapy, beta-blocker therapy within 24 hours was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality in patients with sustained VT/VF (relative risk 0.28, 95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.75, p = 0.013) without evidence of worsening heart failure. Patients with sustained VT/VF were less likely to receive beta blockers within 24 hours (p = 0.001). In conclusion, sustained VT/VF was common after AMI. In patients with sustained VT/VF, beta-blocker therapy in the first 24 hours after AMI was associated with decreased early mortality without worsening heart failure. Unfortunately, beta blockers were underused acutely in patients with sustained VT/VF.