SGLT2 Inhibitor Use Linked to Fewer Atrial Arrhythmias

During the virtual American Heart Association (AHA) scientific sessions in November 2021, the results of a large prospective study were presented expanding the range of known cardioprotective effects of sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. These data from nearly 14,000 patients have shown that this drug class is associated with a significant reduction in the atrial arrhythmias burden and all-cause mortality in patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs).

The study included 13,890 consecutive, prospectively enrolled patients who received a CIED during January 2015–April 2020 at any of five hospitals operated by either of two tertiary health care systems, one run by the University of Rochester and the second based at Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, Israel. The devices that made patients eligible for the study included permanent pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, and implantable cardiac monitors. At entry into the study (the time of device implantation), 12,992 patients were not receiving an SGLT2 inhibitor (94%) and 898 (6%) were receiving a drug from this class. Of those, 39% were on dapagliflozin (Farxiga), 35% were on empagliflozin (Jardiance), and 26% were on canagliflozin (Invokana).

Patients receiving an SGLT2 inhibitor at baseline were on average substantially younger than the patients not on this drug class (59 years vs. 69 years); they had a substantially higher prevalence of diabetes (78% vs. 25%), and ischemic cardiomyopathy (63% vs. 39%). Patients on an SGLT2 inhibitor at baseline also had more modestly higher prevalence rates of prior heart failure (38% vs. 31%), and hypertension (69% vs. 63%). Prevalence of a history of atrial fibrillation (AFib) was nearly the same in both groups: 31% in patients on an SGLT2 inhibitor and 35% in those not on these drugs.

The study’s primary endpoint was the total number of arrhythmia events during follow-up of 24,442 patient-years, during which patients exhibited 19,633 atrial arrhythmia events and 3,231 ventricular arrhythmia events.

A multivariate analysis of the entire population — adjusted for baseline differences in age, diabetes, sex, and history of AFib — showed that treatment with an SGLT2 inhibitor at baseline was linked with a significant 24% relative reduction in incident atrial arrhythmia events and a 42% relative reduction in all-cause deaths, compared with no SGLT2-inhibitor treatment. The only analyzed endpoint that showed no significant between-group difference was incidence of ventricular arrhythmias, which was a relative 7% lower in the SGLT2-inhibitor group. On an absolute basis, treatment with an SGLT2 inhibitor was tied to about a 1% lower rate of atrial arrhythmia events per year, a reduction from a 2.5% rate in those not on an SGLT2 inhibitor to about a 1.5% rate in those taking this drug class.

Reference: SGLT2 Inhibitor Use Tied to Fewer Atrial Arrhythmias - Medscape - Dec 02, 2021.

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