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Insulin treatment and clinical outcomes in patients with diabetes and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Journal article
Authors L. Shen
R. Rorth
D. Cosmi
S. L. Kristensen
M. C. Petrie
F. Cosmi
R. Latini
L. Kober
I. S. Anand
P. E. Carson
C. B. Granger
M. Komajdal
R. S. McKelvie
S. D. Solomon
L. Staszewsky
Karl Swedberg
T. Huynh
M. R. Zile
P. S. Jhund
J. J. V. McMurray
Published in European Journal of Heart Failure
Volume 21
Issue 8
Pages 974-984
ISSN 1388-9842
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 974-984
Language en
Keywords Heart failure, Diabetes mellitus, Insulin, basal insulin, hypoglycemia, irbesartan, risk, Cardiovascular System & Cardiology
Subject categories Endocrinology and Diabetes, Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


Aims Insulin causes sodium retention and hypoglycaemia and its use is associated with worse outcomes in heart failure (HF) with reduced ejection fraction. We have investigated whether this is also the case in HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Methods and results We examined the association between diabetes/diabetes treatments and the risk of the primary composite of cardiovascular death or HF hospitalization, as well as other outcomes in adjusted analyses in CHARM-Preserved (left ventricular ejection fraction >= 45%), I-Preserve and TOPCAT (Americas) pooled. Of 8466 patients, 2653 (31%) had diabetes, including 979 (37%) receiving insulin. Patients receiving insulin were younger, had a higher body mass index, prevalence of ischaemic aetiology, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide and use of diuretics, worse New York Heart Association class and signs and symptoms, and worse quality of life and renal function, compared to patients with diabetes not on insulin. Among the 1398 patients with echocardiographic data, insulin use was associated with higher left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and more diastolic dysfunction than in other participants. The primary outcome occurred at a rate of 6.3 per 100 patient-years in patients without diabetes, and 10.2 and 17.1 per 100 patient-years in diabetes patients without and with insulin use, respectively [fully adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) insulin-treated diabetes vs. other diabetes: 1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.23-1.63, P < 0.001]. The adjusted HR is 1.67 (95% CI 1.20-2.32, p = 0.002) for sudden death (insulin-treated diabetes vs. other diabetes). Conclusions Insulin use is associated with poor outcomes in HFpEF. Although we cannot conclude a causal association, the safety of insulin and alternative glucose-lowering treatments in HF needs to be evaluated in clinical trials.

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