Heart rate control with adrenergic blockade: Clinical outcomes in cardiovascular medicine

David Feldman, Terry S. Elton, Doron M. Menachemi, Randy K. Wexler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The sympathetic nervous system is involved in regulating various cardiovascular parameters including heart rate (HR) and HR variability. Aberrant sympathetic nervous system expression may result in elevated HR or decreased HR variability, and both are independent risk factors for development of cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, myocardial infarction, and hypertension. Epidemiologic studies have established that impaired HR control is linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. One successful way of decreasing HR and cardiovascular mortality has been by utilizing β-blockers, because their ability to alter cell signaling at the receptor level has been shown to mitigate the pathogenic effects of sympathetic nervous system hyperactivation. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that β-blocker-mediated HR control improvements are associated with decreased mortality in postinfarct and heart failure patients. Although improved HR control benefits have yet to be established in hypertension, both traditional and vasodilating β-blockers exert positive HR control effects in this patient population. However, differences exist between traditional and vasodilating β-blockers; the latter reduce peripheral vascular resistance and exert neutral or positive effects on important metabolic parameters. Clinical evidence suggests that attainment of HR control is an important treatment objective for patients with cardiovascular conditions, and vasodilating β-blocker efficacy may aid in accomplishing improved outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalVascular Health and Risk Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Adrenergic beta-antagonists
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial infarction


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