Nature Research, Scientific Reports, 1(10), 2020
Abstract Although evidence based guidelines recommend optimal use of beta blockers in all patients with chronic heart failure unless contraindicated, they are often underutilized and/or prescribed below the recommended dosage in the majority of patients with heart failure. To our knowledge, however, the optimal use of beta-blockers in chronic heart failure is not investigated in Ethiopia. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate the utilization and optimization of beta blockers in the management of patients with chronic heart failure in Ethiopia. A prospective observational study was conducted among ambulatory patients with chronic heart failure in Ethiopia. We included adult patients with a diagnosis of heart failure with a baseline left ventricular ejection fraction < 40% who had been on follow-up for at least 6 months. Patients were recruited into the study during their appointment for medication refilling using simple random sampling technique. All patients were followed for at least 6 months to determine the optimal use of beta blockers. The optimal use of beta blockers was determined according to evidence based guidelines. After explaining the purpose of the study, we obtained written informed consent from all participants. Data were collected through patient interview and review of patients’ medical records. Binary logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with utilization of beta blockers. A total of 288 patients were included in the study. Out of the total, 67% of the patients were receiving beta blockers. Among the patients who received beta blockers, 34.2% were taking guideline recommended beta blockers while 65.8% were taking atenolol, which is not guideline recommended beta blocker. Among the patients who received guideline recommended beta blockers, only 3% were taking optimal dose. Prior hospitalization [Adjusted Odds ratio (AOR) 0.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.19–0.76], dose of furosemide > 40 mg (AOR 0.39, 95% CI 0.20–0.76), ischemic heart disease (AOR 3.27, 95% CI 1.66–6.45), atrial fibrillation (AOR 4.41, 95% CI 1.38–14.13) were significantly associated with the utilization of beta-blockers. Despite proven benefit, beta blockers were not optimally used in most of the participants in this study. The presence of ischemic heart disease and atrial fibrillation were positively associated with the utilization of beta blockers while hospitalization and higher diuretic dose were negatively associated with the utilization of beta blockers. Clinicians should attempt to use evidence based beta blockers at guideline recommended target doses that have been shown to have morbidity and mortality benefit in chronic heart failure. Moreover, more effort needs to be done to minimize the potentially modifiable risk factors for underutilization of beta blocker in chronic heart failure therapy.