The β-Blocker to Lower Cardiovascular Dialysis Events (BLOCADE) feasibility study: A randomized controlled trial

Matthew A. Roberts, Helen L. Pilmore, Francesco L. Ierino, Sunil V. Badve, Alan Cass, Amit X. Garg, Nicole M. Isbel, Henry Krum, Elaine M. Pascoe, Vlado Perkovic, Anish Scaria, Andrew M. Tonkin, Liza A. Vergara, Carmel M. Hawley, Adeera Levin, David Hare, Andrew Martin, David C. Wheeler, Gregory Fulcher, Helen BrownDavid Colquhoun, Dariusz Korczyk, Amanda Mather, Andrew Wong, Matthew Roberts, Francesco Ierino, Pascal Bisscheroux, Alastair Gillies, Leanne Garvey, Ken Soon Tan, Erica Lennan, Nicole Isbel, Markus Pitkin, Karin Ahearn, Robert P. Carroll, Eileen Scott, Bruce Cooper, Jacqueline Pearse, Paul Snelling, Jenny Burman, Samantha Hand, Eugenie Pedagogos, Connie Karschimkus, Helen Pilmore, Andrew Pilmore, Robert Walker, Gaye Ellis, Mark R. Marshall, Cecilia Paul, Carmel M. Hawley, David Johnson, Sunil Badve, Jean Helyar, Alicia Morrish, Elaine M. Pascoe, Peta Anne Paul-Brent, Donna Reidlinger, Liza A. Vergara, Lei Zhang, BLOCADE Study Collaborative Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: β-Blocking agents reduce cardiovascular mortality in patients with heart disease, but their potential benefit in dialysis patients is unclear. We aimed to determine the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Study Design: Pilot RCT. 

Setting & Participants: Patients who received dialysis for 3 or more months and were 50 years or older (or ≥18 years with diabetes or cardiovascular disease) were recruited from 11 sites in Australia and New Zealand. We aimed to recruit 150 participants. 

Intervention: After a 6-week run-in with the β-blocker carvedilol, we randomly assigned participants to treatment with carvedilol or placebo for 12 months. 

Outcomes & Measurements: The prespecified primary outcome was the proportion of participants who tolerated carvedilol, 6.25 mg, twice daily during the run-in period. After randomization, we report participant withdrawal and the incidence of intradialytic hypotension (IDH). 

Results: Of 1,443 patients screened, 354 were eligible, 91 consented, and 72 entered the run-in stage. 49 of 72 run-in participants (68%; 95% CI, 57%-79%) achieved the primary outcome. 5 of the 23 withdrawals from run-in were attributable to bradycardia or hypotension. After randomization, 10 of 26 allocated to carvedilol and 4 of 23 allocated to placebo withdrew. 4 participants randomly assigned to carvedilol withdrew because of bradycardia or hypotension. Overall, there were 4 IDH events per 100 hemodialysis sessions; in participants allocated to carvedilol versus placebo, respectively, there were 7 versus 2 IDH events per 100 hemodialysis sessions (P = 0.1) in the 2 weeks immediately following a dose increase and 4 versus 3 IDH events per 100 hemodialysis sessions after no dose increase (P = 0.7). 

Limitations: Unable to recruit planned sample size. 

Conclusions: Recruiting patients receiving dialysis to an RCT of β-blocker versus placebo will prove challenging. Possible solutions include international collaboration and exploring novel trial designs such as a registry-based RCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-911
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'The β-Blocker to Lower Cardiovascular Dialysis Events (BLOCADE) feasibility study: A randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this