Heart failure (HF) is growing to a modern epidemic and despite advances in therapy, it still carries an ominous prognosis and a significant socioeconomic burden.1 Many novel agents that emerged as promising HF drugs failed to improve residual morbidity and mortality.2,3 Since developing and testing new agents has become increasingly costly,4 the concept of repurposing existing drugs for new indications has gained considerable importance.
Conceptually, comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), obesity or chronic kidney disease, all highly prevalent in HF populations, have shifted from being innocent bystanders to drivers of HF. This applies especially to HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), a phenotype that accounts for more than 50% of HF patients and for which no effective therapy exists thus far.5,6 In particular, the prevalence of T2DM, thereby its combination with HF is rapidly increasing, mainly due to the obesity epidemic.
Cardiovascular (CV) outcomes are addressed by an increasing number of clinical studies in T2DM, mainly as safety endpoints for anti-diabetic agents. Some of those drugs have beneficial CV effects independent of their glucose-lowering action. Consequently, anti-diabetic agents have gained interest for their potential repurposing in HF treatment. In this context, the Translational Research Committee of the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) organized a workshop on HF and T2DM, focusing on the pathophysiological and therapeutic aspects of this relationship. Here, we summarize the main points raised during this workshop, providing an overview of current evidence and open issues.