Mechanisms and Evidence for Heart Failure Benefits from SGLT2 Inhibitors

Cezary Wojcik, Bruce A. Warden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: To review the clinical trial data and underlying mechanistic principles in support of the robust cardiovascular (CV) benefits, in particular, heart failure (HF) outcomes association with sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Recent Findings: Several large CV outcome trials in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and with either established atherosclerotic CV disease (ASCVD) or at high risk for ASCVD reveal that SGLT2 inhibitors cause reductions in CV and HF endpoints. The reduction in ASCVD appears to be confined to those with established ASCVD on the order of ≈ 14%, as does the mortality benefit—all-cause and CV-related. However, hospitalization for HF are reduced by ≈ 33% and occur regardless of baseline patient characteristics. The unprecedented HF outcomes are theorized to occur via several possible mechanisms and include optimization of conventional ASCVD risk factors, improvement in hemodynamics, prevention of cardiac and renal remodeling, inhibition of hormone dysregulation, use of more efficient metabolic substrates, ion channel inhibition, anti-inflammatory effects, and anti-oxidant effects. Summary: Recent evidence has unveiled the irrefutable data that SGLT2 inhibitors reduce CV events in patients with T2DM, with a profound effect on reductions in hospitalization for HF. Though several mechanisms conveying this benefit are suggested, most are based in limited data requiring further validation. Nonetheless, the arrival of SGLT2 inhibitors has ushered in a new era of CV risk reductions therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130
JournalCurrent cardiology reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Clinical trials
  • Heart failure
  • Pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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