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Women taking β-blockers for hypertension have an increased risk for developing heart failure when they present to the hospital with acute coronary syndrome, according to a study published online July 10 in Hypertension.

Raffaele Bugiardini, M.D., from the University of Bologna in Italy, and colleagues examined whether the effect of β-blocker therapy varies according to the sex of patients with hypertension. A total of 13,764 patients presenting with acute coronary syndrome were included in the study population; 2,590 patients had previously received β-blockers for hypertension.

The researchers observed an absolute difference of 4.6 percent between women and men in the rate of heart failure at hospital presentation among those taking β-blockers before admission (21.3 versus 16.7 percent; relative risk ratio, 1.35; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.65). Among women and men who did not receive β-blockers, the rate of heart failure was similar (17.2 versus 16.1 percent; relative risk ratio, 1.09; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.97 to 1.21). A significant association was identified between sex and β-blocker therapy. In women and men, heart failure was predictive of mortality at 30 days.

“What we found presents a solid case for re-examination of the use of beta-blocker therapy for women with hypertension,” Bugiardini said in statement. “For women who have no history of cardiovascular disease and only hypertension, we think it is incredibly important for them to regulate their blood pressure through diet and exercise.”



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