In Summary
  • The findings came as a surprise to lead investigator Jeffrey Goldberger, a professor of medicine in cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

  • He began the study after discovering heart attack patients were being treated with much lower doses of beta-blockers than were used in clinical trials.

  • "We expected to see patients treated with the lower doses to have worse survival," said Goldberger.

People who suffered a heart attack lived longer when their dose of a medication known as a beta-blocker was a quarter of the amount commonly prescribed, researchers said Monday.

The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology journal involved more than 6,000 patients whose survival post-heart attack was compared according to the amount of beta-blockers they were prescribed afterward.

Beta-blockers help ward off heart failure by stopping the effect of adrenaline on the heart and preventing arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. They are prescribed to nearly everyone who has had a heart attack.

The study found that patients taking one-fourth the dose tested in large clinical trials had a 20 to 25 percent increase in survival, compared to those on the standard dose.

The findings came as a surprise to lead investigator Jeffrey Goldberger, a professor of medicine in cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

He began the study after discovering heart attack patients were being treated with much lower doses of beta-blockers than were used in clinical trials.

"We expected to see patients treated with the lower doses to have worse survival," said Goldberger.

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