Conference Coverage

Empagliflozin favorably reshaped left ventricles in HFrEF patients



The results showed an average reduction of end systolic volume of 26.6 mL from baseline compared with a small rise in the placebo patients, and an average drop in end diastolic volume of 25.1 mL from baseline compared again with a small increase in the controls. Both differences were statistically significant, reported the senior author of the study, Juan J. Badimon, PhD , in a talk at the virtual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association. Concurrently, the results were published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Results from the EMPA-TROPISM study also showed several other significant benefits from empagliflozin treatment, both to left ventricular shape and function as well as to other measures of patient well being. The drug regimen led to an increase in left ventricular ejection fraction, a decrease in left ventricular mass, reduced myocardial fibrosis and aortic stiffness, increased peak oxygen consumption, an increased distance traveled in a 6-minute walk test, and improved quality of life, said Dr. Badimon, professor of medicine and director of the Atherothrombosis Research Unit at the Cardiovascular Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

SUGAR-DM-HF enrolled only T2D patients

The second study, SUGAR-DM-HF, randomized 105 patients with HFrEF and T2D to treatment with empagliflozin or placebo at any of 15 centers in Scotland, with 92 patients completing the full 36 weeks on treatment. One of the study’s two primary endpoints was the change in left ventricular end systolic volume index, which dropped by an average of 7.9 mL/m2 in patients who received empagliflozin and by 1.5 mL/m2 in the controls, a significant average between-group difference of 6.0 mL/m2, reported Matthew M.Y. Lee, MBChB , at the same meeting.

However, the second primary endpoint, change in left ventricular global longitudinal strain, showed no significant difference in effect on empagliflozin compared with placebo, said Dr. Lee, a cardiologist at the University of Glasgow. Concurrently with his report the results appeared in an article published online in Circulation.

The results also showed a significant drop in left ventricular end diastolic volume index from baseline compared with the control patients, with an average between-group difference in the reduction from baseline of 8.2 mL/m2.
“Reverse cardiac remodeling is a mechanism by which SGLT2 inhibitors reduce heart failure hospitalizations and cardiovascular mortality,” Dr. Lee concluded during his presentation at the meeting.

Although the findings from both studies together provide strong evidence for an effect by empagliflozin on left ventricular shape and function, neither study provides much insight into how this drug exerts these effects. The authors of both studies agreed on several potential explanations, including reductions in cardiac preload and afterload that could reduce left ventricular stretch and volume; a change triggered in myocardial energetics that switches from a metabolism mostly dependent on glucose to one more geared to using fatty acids, ketone bodies, and branched chain amino acids; and a possible drug-induced reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation.

SUGAR-DM-HF was sponsored by a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that along with Eli Lilly markets empagliflozin (Jardiance). Dr. Lee had no disclosures. Dr. Petrie has been a consultant to Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and to several other companies. EMPA-TROPISM was sponsored by a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim. Dr. Badimon and Dr. Santos-Gallego had no disclosures.

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