291. Guidelines: 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure – Question #17 with Dr. Biykem Bozkurt

The following question refers to Section 5.1 of the 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure.

The question is asked by Keck School of Medicine USC medical student & CardioNerds Intern Hirsh Elhence, answered first by Greater Baltimore Medical Center medicine resident / Johns Hopkins MPH student and CardioNerds Academy House Chief Dr. Alaa Diab, and then by expert faculty Dr. Biykem Bozkurt.

Dr. Bozkurt is the Mary and Gordon Cain Chair, Professor of Medicine, Director of the Winters Center for Heart Failure Research, and an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She is former President of HFSA, former senior associate editor for Circulation, and current Editor-In-Chief of JACC Heart Failure. Dr. Bozkurt was the Vice Chair of the writing committee for the 2022 Heart Failure Guidelines.

The Decipher the Guidelines: 2022 AHA / ACC / HFSA Guideline for The Management of Heart Failure series was developed by the CardioNerds and created in collaboration with the American Heart Association and the Heart Failure Society of America. It was created by 30 trainees spanning college through advanced fellowship under the leadership of CardioNerds Cofounders Dr. Amit Goyal and Dr. Dan Ambinder, with mentorship from Dr. Anu Lala, Dr. Robert Mentz, and Dr. Nancy Sweitzer. We thank Dr. Judy Bezanson and Dr. Elliott Antman for tremendous guidance.

Enjoy this Circulation 2022 Paths to Discovery article to learn about the CardioNerds story, mission, and values.

A 63-year-old man with CAD s/p CABG 3 years prior, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and tobacco use disorder presents for routine follow-up. His heart rate is 65 bpm and blood pressure is 125/70 mmHg. On physical exam, he is breathing comfortably with clear lungs, with normal jugular venous pulsations, a regular rate and rhythm without murmurs or gallops, and no peripheral edema. Medications include aspirin 81mg daily, atorvastatin 80mg daily, lisinopril 20mg daily, and metformin 1000mg BID. His latest hemoglobin A1C is 7.5% and recent NT-proBNP was normal. His latest transthoracic echocardiogram showed normal biventricular size and function. Which of the following would be a good addition to optimize his medical therapy?



DPP-4 inhibitor


Dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker


SGLT2 inhibitor




The correct answer is C: SGLT2 inhibitor.

This patient is at risk for HF (Stage A) given absence of signs or symptoms of heart failure but presence of coronary artery disease and several risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and tobacco smoking. At this stage, the focus should be on risk factor modification and prevention of disease onset.

Healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining regular physical activity; normal weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels; healthy dietary patterns, and not smoking have been associated with a lower lifetime risk of developing HF.

Multiple RCTs in patients with type 2 diabetes who have established CVD or are at high risk for CVD, have shown that SGLT2i prevent HF hospitalizations compared with placebo. The benefit for reducing HF hospitalizations in these trials predominantly reflects primary prevention of symptomatic HF, because only approximately 10% to 14% of participants in these trials had HF at baseline.

As such, in patients with type 2 diabetes and either established CVD or at high cardiovascular risk, SGLT2i should be used to prevent hospitalizations for HF (Class 1, LOE A).

The mechanisms for the improvement in HF events from SGLT2i have not been clearly elucidated but seem to be independent of glucose lowering. Proposed mechanisms include reductions in plasma volume, cardiac preload and afterload, alterations in cardiac metabolism, reduced arterial stiffness, and interaction with the Na+/H+ exchanger. SGLT2i are generally well tolerated, but these agents have not been evaluated in those with severe renal impairment (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] <25 mL/min/1.73 m2).

Main Takeaway

It is important to identify patients who are at risk for HF (Stage A) and focus on risk factor optimization to prevent disease onset and progression.

Guideline Loc.

Section 5.1

291. Guidelines 2022 AHAACCHFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure – Question #17 with Dr. Biykem Bozkurt
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