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Investigating novel therapies for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

The George Institute for Global Health & University of NSW

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Organ System:
  • Cardiovascular
Date Funded:
  • 22 May, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Clare Arnott

Project summary

Finding a new treatment for these patients, which will help them feel better, lose weight and reduce hospitalisations.

What is the issue for NSW?

Patients with heart failure related to a ‘stiff heart’, termed heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), often have a poor quality of life, shortness of breath and repeat admissions to hospital. Other conditions like high blood pressure and obesity can make this condition worse. Currently, there are no treatments to make these patients feel better or prevent them from becoming unwell and needing to go to hospital.

This study aims to find a new treatment for these patients, which will help them feel better, lose weight and reduce hospitalisations. The treatment combination is: sodium glucose co-transporter inhibitors (SGLT2i), and glucagon like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP1-RA).

What does the research aim to do and how?

This research program has two key components which are outlined below.

  1. Project one will look at cardiac, kidney and safety outcomes in patients on this combination therapy using data from two large studies we have conducted at the George Institute for Global Health, the CANVAS Program and the CREDENCE Trial.
  2. Project two is a new study, in patients with HFpEF that will be done across Australia, the USA and Singapore. Patients will receive either SGLT2i/GLP1-RA combination or placebo and we will look at effects on quality of life, blood pressure, body weight, kidney function and need to be hospitalised.

This will be the first study of this treatment combination in HFpEF and has the potential to identify the first proven therapy to improve outcomes in these patients. A positive result would have direct implications for the quality of life of millions of patients worldwide. The study will involve patients throughout the research process, seeking advice on design and conduct using focus groups, surveys and interviews as well as incorporating plans for consumer-led dissemination of study findings.

The research team is led by Dr Clare Arnott but includes international heart failure and clinical trial experts with specific expertise in using research to inform international guidelines and clinical care pathways.

The key potential outcomes and benefits of this project are:

  1. identifying the first proven therapy for HFpEF resulting in improved quality of life for patients
  2. the integration of this new treatment into national and international guidelines
  3. education of patients and physicians on HFpEF, risk factors and best medical management.

More information

Innovative drug combination could prevent heart failure from ‘stiff heart’ article on NSW health and medical research website