Heart Failure Reviews

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 147–156 | Cite as

Pharmacological treatments for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction—a systematic review and indirect comparison

  • Kwadwo Osei Bonsu
  • Poukwan Arunmanakul
  • Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk


Pharmacological interventions for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) have failed to reduce mortality and hospitalization. Evidence for mineralocorticoid antagonists (MRAs), β-adrenoceptor blockers (β-blockers), and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ACEIs/ARBs)–to reduce clinical outcomes in HFpEF remains unclear. We conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Clinical for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing pharmacological treatments in HFpEF diagnosed according the recommendations of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2016 guidelines from inception to August, 2017. The study outcomes were mortality, hospitalization, changes in indexes of cardiac structure and function, biomarkers, and indexes of functional capacity—quality of life (QoL) assessment and 6-min walk distance test (6-MWD). The random-effects models were used to estimate pooled relative risks (RRs) for the binary outcomes and standardized mean differences for continuous outcomes, with 95% CI. A network meta-analysis using a random-effects model was employed to estimate the comparative efficacy of treatments. We included data from 15 RCTs comprising 5930 patients. There was no significant effect seen with all treatments compared with placebo and comparative efficacy of any two treatments on all outcomes assessed. However, mineralocorticoid antagonist spironolactone demonstrated a trend towards reducing mortality compared with placebo (RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.79–1.08), sildenafil (0.14; 0.01–2.78), perindopril (0.87; 0.59–1.28), and eplerenone (0.91; 0.25–3.33). Similar trends in treatment effect were observed with spironolactone on surrogate outcomes while eplerenone demonstrated a trend of superior effect in reduction of hospitalizations compared with all other drug treatment. No drug treatment demonstrated statistically significant improvement in clinical and surrogate outcomes in HFpEF diagnosed according to the ESC 2016 guideline. Spironolactone and eplerenone showed clinically relevant reduction in mortality and hospitalization respectively compared with other drug treatments. Further trials with MRAs are warranted to confirm treatment effects in HFpEF.


Heart failure Preserved ejection fraction Pharmacological treatment Meta-analysis 


Author contributions

All authors conceived and designed the study. KOB and NC wrote the protocol. KOB and PA wrote the first draft. KOB and NC contributed substantially to the interpretation of the data and critical revision of the manuscript. KOB and PA screened, extracted the data and perform the quality assessment. KOB and NC have access to all the data in the study, analyzed the data and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Not required.

Supplementary material

10741_2018_9679_MOESM1_ESM.docx (140 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 140 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health SciencesKwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  2. 2.Pharmacy Department, Emergency Medicine DirectorateKomfo Anokye Teaching HospitalKumasiGhana
  3. 3.Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health SciencesMonash University MalaysiaBandar SunwayMalaysia
  4. 4.Pharmaceutical Care Department, Faculty of PharmacyChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  5. 5.Asian Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Population, Implementation and Clinical Outcomes (PICO), Health and Well-being Cluster, Global Asia in the 21st Century (GA21) PlatformMonash University MalaysiaBandar SunwayMalaysia
  6. 6.School of PharmacyMonash University MalaysiaBandar SunwayMalaysia
  7. 7.Centre of Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research (CPOR), Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesNaresuan UniversityPhitsanulokThailand
  8. 8.School of PharmacyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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