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The following question refers to Section 6.2 of the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines. The question is asked by Dr. Christian Faaborg-Andersen, answered first by Houston Methodist medicine resident Dr. Najah Khan, and then by expert faculty Dr. Jaideep Patel.
Dr. Patel recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University cardiology fellowship and is now a preventive cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
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 60-year-old Black woman with a history of hypertension and heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (EF 40%) presents to clinic for follow-up. She is currently doing well with NYHA class II symptoms. She is taking carvedilol 25 mg BID, sacubitril/valsartan 97/103 mg BID, and spironolactone 25 mg daily, all of which have been well tolerated. In clinic, her BP is 125/80 mmHg, and her HR is 55 bpm. Routine labs are within normal limits including Cr of 1.0, K of 4.0, and HbA1c of 6.0. What is the most appropriate next step in her management?
A. No change in management
B. Reduce beta blocker
C. Add an SGLT2 inhibitor (dapagliflozin or empagliflozin)
D. Add vericiguat
E. Add hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrate
The correct answer is C – Add an SGLT2 inhibitor (dapagliflozin or empagliflozin)
For patients with symptomatic HFrEF, neurohormonal antagonists (ACEi, ARB, ARNI; BB; MRA) improve survival and reduce the risk of HF hospitalization. This patient is already on these agents. The addition of an SGLT2 inhibitor on top of neurohormonal blockade reduces the risk of CV death and worsening HF in patients with symptomatic HFrEF and is the next best step for this patient (Class I, LOE A).
Vericiguat may be considered in patients with symptomatic HFrEF with HF worsening despite already being on maximally tolerated neurohormonal blockade (Class IIb, LOE B), but first-line therapies should be started first.
Hydralazine/Isosorbide dinitrate should be considered in self-identified Black patients or people who have EF ≤ 35% or <45% with dilated LV with class III-IV symptoms despite maximally tolerated neurohormonal blockade (Class IIa, LOE B), but is not the next best step here.
She is tolerating the beta blocker without adverse effects so there is no reason to decrease the dosage.
In patients with symptomatic HFrEF (EF ≤ 40%), SGLT2 inhibitors are considered first line therapy in addition to ACE-I/ARB/ARNI, BB, and MRAs to reduce the risk of HF hospitalization and death. Importantly this is irrespective of presence of diabetes.
Section 6.2, page 3295-3296
Figure 13 page 3278; recommendation table page 3279.