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Advances in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Management - The Role of Sacubitril-Valsartan, Pirfenidone, Spironolactone and Empagliflozin: Is Success a Series of Small Victories?

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 7 ]


Georgios Giannopoulos*, Maria Kousta, Ioannis Anagnostopoulos, Sofia Karageorgiou, Evangelia Myrovali, Gerasimos Deftereos, Nikolaos Fragakis, Gerasimos Siasos and Vassilios P. Vassilikos   Pages 502 - 508 ( 7 )


Background: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a syndrome characterized by marked heterogeneity in comorbidities and etiopathology substrates, leading to a diverse range of clinical manifestations and courses. Treatment options have been extremely limited and up to this day, there are virtually no pharmaceutical agents proven to reduce mortality in these patients.

Objective: The primary objective of this narrative review is to critically summarize existing evidence regarding the use of Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI), spironolactone, pirfenidone and empagliflozin in HFpEF.

Methods: Medline (via PubMed) and Scopus were searched - from inception up to May 2022- using adequately selected keywords. Additional hand-search was also performed using the references of the articles identified as relevant (snowball strategy).

Results: Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI) and spironolactone, despite being very successful in HFrEF, did not do well in clinical trials of HFpEF, although there appear to be certain subsets of patients who may derive benefit. Data regarding pirfenidone are limited and come from small trials; as a result, it would be premature to draw firm conclusions, although it seems improbable that this agent will ever become a mainstay in the general population of HFpEF patients, while there may be a niche for the drug in individuals with comorbidities associated with an intense fibrotic activity. Finally, empagliflozin, largely welcomed as the first agent to have a “positive” randomized clinical trial in HFpEF, does not seem to evade the general pattern of reduced hospitalizations for HF with no substantial effect on mortality, seen in ARNI and spironolactone HFpEF trials.

Conclusion: Recent research in drug treatment for HFpEF has resulted in an overall mixed picture, with trials showing potential benefits from certain classes of drugs, such as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors, and no benefit from other drugs, which have shown to be effective in patients with reduced ejection fraction. However, small steps may be the way to go in HFpEF, and success is sometimes just a series of small victories.


Congestive, preserved, ARNI, neprilysin, angiotensin, mineralocorticoid, SGLT2, inhibitor.


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