321. Guidelines: 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure – Question #25 with Dr. Mark Drazner

The following question refers to Sections 6.1 and 7.3 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 & former CardioNerds Intern Hirsh Elhence, answered first by Greater Baltimore Medical Center medicine resident and CardioNerds Academy Fellow Dr. Alaa Diab, and then by expert faculty Dr. Mark Drazner.

Dr. Drazner is an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist, Professor of Medicine, and Clinical Chief of Cardiology at UT Southwestern. He is the past President of the Heart Failure Society of America.

 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 50-year-old man with a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus, persistent atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease with prior remote percutaneous coronary intervention, and ischemic cardiomyopathy with HFrEF (LVEF 38%) presents to your outpatient clinic. He denies dyspnea on exertion, orthopnea, bendopnea, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, or peripheral edema. His heart rate is irregularly irregular at 112 beats per minute and blood pressure is 112/67 mmHg. Routine laboratory studies reveal a hemoglobin A1c of 7.7%. Which of the following medications should not be used to control this patient’s comorbidities?


Metoprolol succinate








Both B and D


The correct answer is E – both verapamil and pioglitazone should be avoided here.

Both verapamil and pioglitizone are associated with harm in patients with LVEF < 50% (Class 3: Harm). Verapamil and diltiazem are non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers. These medications can cause negative inotropic effects through inhibition of calcium influx and may be harmful in this patient population. Pioglitizone belongs to a class of diabetic medications known as the thiazolidinediones. This class of medications may increase the risk of fluid retention, heart failure, and hospitalization in patients with LVEF of less than 50%.

Metoprolol succinate, and other evidence-based beta blockers, have a Class 1 recommendation for patients with reduced ejection fraction ≤ 40% to prevent symptomatic heart failure and reduce mortality. It may additionally help with rate control in this patient with atrial fibrillation and rapid ventricular response.

SGLT2 inhibitors including dapagliflozin have a Class I recommendation for patients with symptomatic chronic HFrEF to reduce hospitalization for HF and cardiovascular mortality, irrespective of the presence of type 2 diabetes (Class 1, LOE A). They also have a Class I recommendation in patients with type 2 diabetes and either established CVD or at high cardiovascular risk to prevent hospitalization for HF (Class 1, LOE A). Our patient has asymptomatic, or pre-HF (Stage B) heart failure with poorly controlled diabetes, and so use of an SGLT2 inhibitor would be appropriate.

Main Takeaway

Non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers and thiozolidinediones

both have Class 3 recommendations for harm in patients with reduced LV systolic dysfunction.

Guideline Loc.

Section 6.1 and 7.3


321. Guidelines: 2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure – Question #25 with Dr. Mark Drazner
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