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β-Blocker Use and Risk of Mortality in Heart Failure Patients Initiating Maintenance Dialysis


Rational & objective

Beta-blockers are recommended for patients with heart failure (HF) but their benefit in the dialysis population is uncertain. Beta-blockers are heterogeneous, including with respect to their removal by hemodialysis. We sought to evaluate whether β-blocker use and their dialyzability characteristics were associated with early mortality among patients with chronic kidney disease with HF who transitioned to dialysis.

Study design

Retrospective cohort study.

Setting & participants

Adults patients with chronic kidney disease (aged≥18 years) and HF who initiated either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis during January 1, 2007, to June 30, 2016, within an integrated health system were included.


Patients were considered treated with β-blockers if they had a quantity of drug dispensed covering the dialysis transition date.


All-cause mortality within 6 months and 1 year or hospitalization within 6 months after transition to maintenance dialysis.

Analytical approach

Inverse probability of treatment weights using propensity scores was used to balance covariates between treatment groups. Cox proportional hazard analysis and logistic regression were used to investigate the association between β-blocker use and study outcomes.


3,503 patients were included in the study. There were 2,115 (60.4%) patients using β-blockers at transition. Compared with nonusers, the HR for all-cause mortality within 6 months was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.65-0.94) among users of any β-blocker and 0.68 (95% CI, 0.53-0.88) among users of metoprolol at transition. There were no observed differences in all-cause or cardiovascular-related hospitalization.


The observational nature of our study could not fully account for residual confounding.


Beta-blockers were associated with a lower rate of mortality among incident hemodialysis patients with HF. Similar associations were not observed for hospitalizations within the first 6 months following transition to dialysis.

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