The SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin scored a clear win in a randomized, controlled trial with more than 300 U.S. patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), showing a significant and clinically meaningful benefit for the primary endpoint, a KCCQ measure of symptoms and physical limitations, after 12 weeks of treatment.
These results in the PRESERVED-HF study follow closely on the heals of the initial report from the EMPEROR-Preserved trial that showed a benefit from a different sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, empagliflozin (Jardiance) in nearly 6,000 randomized patients for the primary endpoint of preventing cardiovascular death or hospitalizations for heart failure.
In PRESERVED-HF, patients with HFpEF who received a standard, once-daily dose of dapagliflozin (Farxiga) had an average 5.8-point improvement in their condition as measured by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire clinical summary score (KCCQ-CS), the study’s primary endpoint.
This is “the first study to demonstrate that an SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin significantly improves symptoms, physical limitations, and 6-minute walking distance in patients with HFpEF,” Mikhail N. Kosiborod, MD, reported at the annual scientific meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America. The secondary endpoint of 6-minute walking distance “has been very difficult to improve in many previous studies of other treatments” tested in patients with HFpEF, noted Dr. Kosiborod, a cardiologist and codirector of the Cardiometabolic Center of Excellence at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute.
The results are “highly complementary” to the findings from large outcome trials, such as the findings from EMPEROR-Preserved, he said, and collectively the recent findings from these studies of SGLT2 inhibitors in patients with HFpEF identify drugs in this class as a “new treatment option” for patients with a disorder that until now had no treatment with unequivocally proven efficacy and safety.
‘Impressive and unprecedented’ findings
The findings are “really impressive and unprecedented,” said Milton Packer, MD, a cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas who was not involved in the study. “This is the largest KCCQ benefit ever seen in either patients with HFpEF or in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction,” said Dr. Packer, one of the investigators who led the EMPEROR-Preserved trial.
PRESERVED-HF randomized 324 patients diagnosed with heart failure and with a left ventricular ejection fraction of 45% or higher at any of 26 U.S. centers, with 304 patients completing the planned final analysis after 12 weeks on treatment. Patients could be in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II-IV, they had to have a baseline N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) level of at least 225 pg/mL (or higher if they also had atrial fibrillation), and they required at least one of three markers of established heart failure: recent hospitalization for heart failure or an urgent outpatient visit that required treatment with an IV diuretic, elevated filling pressure measured by left or right catheterization, or structural heart disease detected by echocardiography.
The average age of the enrolled patients was 70 years, and they had been diagnosed with heart failure for about 3 years; 57% were women, 30% were African American, and their median body mass index was 35 kg/m2. Roughly 42% had NYHA class III or IV disease, 56% had type 2 diabetes, their median estimated glomerular filtration rate was about 55 mL/min per 1.73m2, their median KCCQ-CS score at baseline was about 62, and their average 6-minute walk distance was 244 m.
These and other features of the enrolled population define a distinctly U.S. patient population, stressed Dr. Kosiborod, professor of medicine at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.
“The patients we enrolled are the patients we see in U.S. clinical practice,” he said in an interview. Importantly, the patient profile of a median BMI of 35 kg/m2, a median KCCQ-CS score of 62 – “quite low,” noted Dr. Kosiborod – and having more than 40% of patients in NYHA functional class III defines a study population with a substantially greater burden of obesity, symptoms, and functional impairment compared with those enrolled in prior trials involving patients with HFpEF such as EMPEROR-Preserved.
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