Effect of serelaxin on mode of death in acute heart failure: results from the RELAX-AHF study

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Oct 14;64(15):1591-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.05.071.


Background: Little is known about mode of death after acute heart failure (AHF) hospitalization. In the RELAX-AHF (Efficacy and Safety of Relaxin for the Treatment of Acute Heart Failure) study, serelaxin, the recombinant form of human relaxin-2, reduced post-discharge mortality at 180 days in selected patients with AHF.

Objectives: The goal of this study was to assess the effect of serelaxin on specific modes of death in patients with AHF.

Methods: The RELAX-AHF study randomized 1,161 patients with AHF to 48 h of therapy with intravenous serelaxin or placebo. Patients were followed for vital status through 180 days. A blinded clinical events committee reviewed all deaths and adjudicated a cause of death on the basis of pre-specified criteria. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the effect of serelaxin on each mode of death, on the basis of pre-specified groupings of mode of death.

Results: There were 107 deaths (9.3%): 37 (35%) due to HF, 25 (23%) due to sudden death, 15 (14%) due to other cardiovascular (CV) causes, 19 (18%) due to non-CV causes, and 11 (10%) classified as unknown. The treatment effect of serelaxin was most pronounced on other CV deaths (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.12 to 0.73; p = 0.005) and sudden death (HR: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.20 to 1.07; p = 0.065). There was no apparent impact of serelaxin treatment on HF deaths or non-CV deaths.

Conclusions: In the RELAX-AHF study, the effects of serelaxin on mortality were primarily driven by reduction in mortality from other CV causes and sudden death, without apparent impact on HF deaths. (Efficacy and Safety of Relaxin for the Treatment of Acute Heart Failure [RELAX-AHF]; NCT00520806).

Keywords: cause of death; heart failure; relaxin; sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Cause of Death / trends
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Relaxin / administration & dosage*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • serelaxin protein, human
  • Relaxin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00520806