Projected Clinical Benefits of Implementation of SGLT-2 Inhibitors Among Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized for Heart Failure

Muthiah Vaduganathan, Stephen J. Greene, Shuaiqi Zhang, Nicole Solomon, Karen Chiswell, Adam D. Devore, javed Butler, Paul A. Heidenreich, Joanna C. Huang, Michelle M. Kittleson, Karen E. Joynt Maddox, James J. Mcdermott, Anjali Tiku Owens, Pamela N. Peterson, Scott D. Solomon, Orly Vardeny, Clyde W. Yancy, Gregg C. Fonarow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors form the latest pillar in the management of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and appear to be effective across a range of patient profiles. There is increasing interest in initiating SGLT-2 inhibitors during hospitalization, yet little is known about the putative benefits of this implementation strategy. Methods: We evaluated Medicare beneficiaries with HFrEF (≤ 40%) hospitalized at 228 sites in the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) registry in 2016 who had linked claims data for ≥ 1 year postdischarge. We identified those eligible for dapagliflozin under the latest U.S. Food and Drug Administration label (excluding estimated glomerular filtration rates < 25 mL/min per 1.73 m2, dialysis and type 1 diabetes). We evaluated 1-year outcomes overall and among key subgroups (age ≥ 75 years, gender, race, hospital region, kidney function, diabetes status, triple therapy). We then projected the potential benefits of implementation of dapagliflozin based on the risk reductions observed in the Dapagliflozin and Prevention of Adverse Outcomes in Heart Failure (DAPA-HF) trial. Results: Among 7523 patients hospitalized for HFrEF, 6576 (87%) would be candidates for dapagliflozin (mean age 79 ± 8 years, 39% women, 11% Black). Among eligible candidates, discharge use of β-blockers, ACEi/ARB, MRA, ARNI, and triple therapy (ACEi/ARB/ARNI+β-blocker+MRA) was recorded in 88%, 64%, 29%, 3%, and 20%, respectively. Among treatment-eligible patients, the 1-year incidence (95% CI) of mortality was 37% (36-38%) and of HF readmission was 33% (32-34%), and each exceeded 25% across all key subgroups. Among 1333 beneficiaries eligible for dapagliflozin who were already on triple therapy, the 1-year incidence of mortality was 26% (24%–29%) and the 1-year readmission due to HF was 30% (27%–32%). Applying the relative risk reductions observed in DAPA-HF, absolute risk reductions with complete implementation of dapagliflozin among treatment-eligible Medicare beneficiaries are projected to be 5% (1%–9%) for mortality and 9% (5%–12%) for HF readmission by 1 year. The projected number of Medicare beneficiaries who would need to be treated for 1 year to prevent 1 death is 19 (11–114), and 12 (8–21) would need to be treated to prevent 1 readmission due to HF. Conclusions: Medicare beneficiaries with HFrEF who are eligible for dapagliflozin after hospitalization due to HF, including those well-treated with other disease-modifying therapies, face high risks of mortality and HF readmission by 1 year. If the benefits of reductions in death and hospitalizations due to HF observed in clinical trials can be fully realized, the absolute benefits of implementation of SGLT-2 inhibitors among treatment-eligible candidates are anticipated to be substantial in this high-risk postdischarge setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-563
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Heart failure
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors
  • hospitalization
  • modeling
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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