Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre pilot study on the effects of empagliflozin on clinical outcomes in patients with acute decompensated heart failure (EMPA-RESPONSE-AHF)

Eur J Heart Fail. 2020 Apr;22(4):713-722. doi: 10.1002/ejhf.1713. Epub 2020 Jan 7.


Aims: Inhibition of sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) reduces the risk of death and heart failure (HF) admissions in patients with chronic HF. However, safety and clinical efficacy of SGLT2 inhibitors in patients with acute decompensated HF are unknown.

Methods and results: In this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel group, multicentre pilot study, we randomized 80 acute HF patients with and without diabetes to either empagliflozin 10 mg/day or placebo for 30 days. The primary outcomes were change in visual analogue scale (VAS) dyspnoea score, diuretic response (weight change per 40 mg furosemide), change in N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), and length of stay. Secondary outcomes included safety and clinical endpoints. Mean age was 76 years, 33% were female, 47% had de novo HF and median NT-proBNP was 5236 pg/mL. No difference was observed in VAS dyspnoea score, diuretic response, length of stay, or change in NT-proBNP between empagliflozin and placebo. Empagliflozin reduced a combined endpoint of in-hospital worsening HF, rehospitalization for HF or death at 60 days compared with placebo [4 (10%) vs. 13 (33%); P = 0.014]. Urinary output up until day 4 was significantly greater with empagliflozin vs. placebo [difference 3449 (95% confidence interval 578-6321) mL; P < 0.01]. Empagliflozin was safe, well tolerated, and had no adverse effects on blood pressure or renal function.

Conclusions: In patients with acute HF, treatment with empagliflozin had no effect on change in VAS dyspnoea, diuretic response, NT-proBNP, and length of hospital stay, but was safe, increased urinary output and reduced a combined endpoint of worsening HF, rehospitalization for HF or death at 60 days.

Keywords: Acute heart failure; Blood pressure; Diuresis; Dyspnoea; Empagliflozin; Hospital readmission; Renal function; Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Glucosides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • empagliflozin