Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by poorly reversible airflow limitation, with an abnormal pulmonary and systemic inflammatory response to tobacco smoking. Systemic inflammation promotes atherosclerosis, to treat the complications of which beta-blockers are paramount. In the COPD setting, however, the use of beta-blockers has been limited by fears that they could adversely affect lung function. However, by controlling adrenergic drive and reducing the heart rate, beta-blockers could reduce the risk of arrhythmias and sudden death among COPD patients. Thus, beta-blocker use is strongly supported by evidence in COPD patients with history of myocardial infarction, but warrants consideration in other cardiovascular comorbidities. Studies specifically designed to ascertain the role of beta-blockers in patients with COPD with cardiovascular conditions are still needed, because the majority of the current evidence is based on retrospective observational studies.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)