Professor John McMurray's paper published in European Heart Journal

Accelerated and personalized therapy for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction

Li Shen, Pardeep Singh Jhund, Kieran Francis Docherty, Muthiah Vaduganathan, Mark Colquhoun Petrie, Akshay Suvas Desai, Lars Køber, Morten Schou, Milton Packer, Scott David Solomon, Xingwei Zhang, John Joseph Valentine McMurray

This paper suggests that there is a better way to use our standard treatments for heart failure – by adding the different treatments more quickly and changing the order in which they are normally used could lead to significant additional benefits in terms of hospital admissions prevented and lives saved.

Link to Paper


Previously, guidelines recommended initiating therapy in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) in a sequence that follows the chronological order in which trials were conducted, with cautious up-titration of each treatment. It remains unclear whether this historical approach is optimal and alternative approaches may improve patient outcomes.

Methods and results
The potential reductions in events that might result from (i) more rapid up-titration of therapies used in the conventional order (based on the chronology of the trials), and (ii) accelerated up-titration and using treatments in different orders than is conventional were modelled using data from six pivotal trials in HFrEF. Over the first 12 months from starting therapy, using a rapid up-titration schedule led to 23 fewer patients per 1000 patients experiencing the composite of heart failure hospitalization or cardiovascular death and seven fewer deaths from any cause. In addition to accelerating up-titration of treatments, optimized alternative ordering of the drugs used resulted in a further reduction of 24 patients experiencing the composite outcome and six fewer deaths at 12 months. The optimal alternative sequences included sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibition and a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist as the first two therapies.

Modelling of accelerated up-titration schedule and optimized ordering of treatment suggested that at least 14 deaths and 47 patients experiencing the composite outcome per 1000 treated might be prevented over the first 12 months after starting therapy. Standard treatment guidance may not lead to the best patient outcomes in HFrEF, though these findings should be tested in clinical trials.

First published: 28 April 2022