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Heart failure (HF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) frequently coexist. No study has prospectively examined the effects of beta-blockade in those with both conditions.We randomized 27 patients with HF and coexistent moderate or severe COPD to receive bisoprolol or placebo, titrated to maximum tolerated dose over 4 months. The primary outcome was forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number: NCT00702156. Patients were elderly and predominantly male. Cardiovascular comorbidity, smoking history, and pulmonary function were similar in each group (mean FEV1 1.37 vs. 1.26 L, P=0.52). A reduction in FEV1 occurred after 4 months following treatment with bisoprolol compared with placebo (−70 vs. +120 mL, P=0.01). Reversibility following inhaled β2-agonist and static lung volumes were not impaired by bisoprolol. All measures of health status exhibited a consistent non-significant improvement, including the Short Form 36 physical and mental component scores (2.6 vs. 0.5 and 0.8 vs. −0.3, respectively), Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (−2.5 vs. 3.5) and Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (0.07 vs. −0.24). The mean number of COPD exacerbations was similar in the bisoprolol and placebo groups (0.50 and 0.31, respectively, P=0.44).Initiation of bisoprolol in patients with HF and concomitant moderate or severe COPD resulted in a reduction in FEV1. However, symptoms and quality of life were not impaired.