During Saturday’s two-hour symposium Diabetes, Drugs and Heart Failure,, four experts will discuss several novel diabetes medications and their impact on heart failure.
 
Shannon M. Dunlay, MD, MS
Shannon M. Dunlay, MD, MS, opens the session with a review of the epidemiology of diabetes in heart failure. She  examines the structural and functional changes that occur in the heart in patients with diabetes and heart failure, as well as the mechanisms that cause the changes.
 
“As the first presenter in the session, She sets the stage to discuss the mechanisms and impact of novel diabetes medications on the development of heart failure and heart failure outcomes,”
 
While researchers don’t fully understand the pathways by which diabetes leads to heart failure, Dr. Dunlay noted that they do know that the metabolic disturbances resulting from high blood glucose contribute to abnormalities in energy production and oxidative stress that contribute to heart dysfunction and, ultimately, heart failure.
 
“As diabetes and heart failure are so common in our population, it’s imperative that clinicians have a thorough understanding of the linkage between the two conditions,” she said.
 
“Other talks in this session focus on how to use existing therapies to optimize care for patients with diabetes at risk for heart failure, and those with established heart failure.”
 
Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH
Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH, discusses some of those therapies and the challenges of diabetes medication research. Managing diabetes and its complications while minimizing the risk of non-fatal cardiovascular events, including heart failure, is perhaps the most challenging aspect of diabetes drug research, he said.
 
“Diabetes has a very high prevalence in clinical heart failure trials,” said Dr. Lewis, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Cardiovascular Clerkship Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Development of heart failure among patients with diabetes carries a high risk for subsequent mortality and the strategies to prevent its development are important.”
 
Some drugs developed to lower glucose have been associated with varied risk for heart failure, noted Dr. Lewis, who discusses the mechanisms and risks of these new drug classes.
 
“The SGLT-2 inhibitors show significant promise, with recent analysis suggesting a potential class effect,” said Dr. Lewis, who reviewed ongoing trials involving diabetes and non-diabetes patients.
 
“Future studies need to be developed to determine if glucose-lowering agents can be useful in people with existing heart failure,” he added.
 
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