Beta-blockers Associated with a Mortality Benefit in Patients with Systolic Dysfunction and Elevated Serum Bilirubin

Christopher Labos*, Vivian Nguyen, Nadia Giannetti , Thao Huynh
Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University

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© Christopher Labos; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Center, 687 Pine Avenue West, Room M4.76, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 1A1; Tel: 514-934-1934; Fax: 514-843-2813; E-mail:



Hyperbilirubinemia is associated with increased mortality in heart failure (HF) patients. We evaluated the impact of evidence-based medical therapy, in particular beta-blocker on the survival of patients with HF and hyperbilirubinemia.

Methods and Results:

We reviewed the charts of all patients followed at our tertiary care heart failure clinic. Hyperbilirubinemia was defined as total bilirubin >30 µmol/L (1.5 times the upper limit of our laboratory value). The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. The secondary endpoint was a composite of death, cardiac transplant or ventricular assistance device implantation (VAD). Of 1035 HF patients, 121 patients (11.7%) had hyperbilirubinemia. Median follow-up was 556 days. Hyperbilirubinemia was associated with an eight-fold increase in all-cause mortality, hazard ratio (HR): 8.78[95% Confidence Intervals (CI): 5.89-13.06]. Beta-blocker use was associated with approximately 60% reduction in all-cause mortality (HR: 0.38, 95% CI:0.15-0.94) and 70% reduction in the composite secondary endpoint (HR:0.31, 95% CI:0.13-0.71) in patients with hyperbilirubinemia.


HF patients with hyperbilirubinemia have increased early mortality, need for cardiac transplantation or VAD. Beta-blocker use was associated with early survival benefit in these patients. Bilirubin levels should be monitored in patients with HF and early initiation of beta-blockers in patients with hyperbilirubinemia should be considered.

Keywords: Beta-blockers, bilirubin, heart Failure, prognosis.