192. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #6 with Dr. Melissa Tracy

The following question refers to Section 4.8 of the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines. The question is asked by CardioNerds Academy Intern student Dr. Christian Faaborg-Andersen, answered first by UCSF resident Dr. Jessie Holtzman, and then by expert faculty Dr. Melissa Tracy.

Dr. Tracy is a preventive cardiologist, echocardiographer, Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation, and solid organ transplant cardiologist at Rush University.

The CardioNerds Decipher The Guidelines Series for the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines represents a collaboration with the ACC Prevention of CVD Section, the National Lipid Association, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

A 62-year-old man with a history of non-obstructive coronary artery disease, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (EF 30-35%), stage III chronic kidney disease, and type II diabetes mellitus presents to your clinic to establish care. His only medications are aspirin 81 mg daily and metformin 1000 mg BID, which he has taken since being diagnosed with diabetes mellitus 5 years ago. His hemoglobin A1c is 6.8%. What changes would you recommend to his medications at this time?

A. Start glipizide
B. Start saxagliptin
C. Start empagliflozin
D. No changes

The correct answer is C – start empagliflozin.

The Trials involving SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1R agonists have shown cardiovascular benefits independent of glycemic control and metformin use.

The ADA recommends metformin as a first-line therapy for all patients with type 2 DM. The ESC also recommends metformin as first-line therapy but only in patients without ASCVD, CKD, or HF (Class I, LOE B). If a patient has ASCVD, metformin can be considered (Class IIa, LOE B). Rather, for those patients with type 2 DM and ASCVD, the ESC recommends the use of GLP-1R agonist or SGLT-2 inhibitors with proven outcome benefits to reduce CV and/or cardiorenal outcomes (Class I, LOE A). Additionally, for those with type 2 DM and either CKD or HFrEF, the ESC recommends the use of SGLT-2 inhibitor to improve outcomes (Class I, LOE A).

In contrast to the ADA, the view of the ESC is that metformin should be considered but is not mandatory first-line treatment in patients with diabetes and ASCVD or evidence of target organ damage. The initiation of metformin in such patients should not forego or delay the initiation of evidence-based SGLT2 inhibitors or GLP-1RAs.

Therefore, the next best step for our patient is to start an SGLT-2 inhibitor given his history of CAD, HF, and CKD. While this patient’s A1c goal is within the range recommended for patients with Type 2 DM and ASCVD (<7%), given his CAD, HF, and CKD an SGLT-2 inhibitor should still be added.

Saxagliptin is a DPP-4 inhibitor, a class of drugs that showed no effect of MACE but increased risk of HF hospitalization in patients with DM and existing.

Lifestyle management is a top priority for ASCVD prevention and management of DM. Lifestyle intervention lowers future microvascular and macrovascular risks as well as mortality in the longer term. Intensive lifestyle changes with low-calorie diets and mean weight losses in the region of 10 kg leads to remission of type 2 DM in around 46% of cases at 1 year and 36% by 2 years. Smoking cessation, a diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber, aerobic physical activity, strength training, and reduction in energy intake for weight optimization are all recommended for patient with diabetes mellitus (Class I).

Main Takeaway

In patients with Type 2 DM and ASCVD or end organ dysfunction, SGLT-2 inhibitors or GLP-1R agonists should be recommended regardless of background therapy or glycemic control. For patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and CKD or HFrEF, SGLT-2 inhibitor is recommended.

Guideline Location

Section 4.8.1, Pages 3289-90.

192. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #6 with Dr. Melissa Tracy
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