Efficacy of Ertugliflozin on Heart Failure-Related Events in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Established Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: Results of the VERTIS CV Trial

Circulation. 2020 Dec 8;142(23):2205-2215. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.050255. Epub 2020 Oct 7.


Background: In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure (HHF). We assessed the effect of ertugliflozin on HHF and related outcomes.

Methods: VERTIS CV (Evaluation of Ertugliflozin Efficacy and Safety Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial), a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, randomly assigned patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) disease to once-daily ertugliflozin 5 mg, 15 mg, or placebo. Prespecified secondary analyses compared ertugliflozin (pooled doses) versus placebo on time to first event of HHF and composite of HHF/CV death, overall and stratified by prespecified characteristics. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used with the Fine and Gray method to account for competing mortality risk, and Andersen-Gill modeling to analyze total (first+recurrent) HHF and total HHF/CV death events.

Results: A total of 8246 patients were randomly assigned to ertugliflozin (n=5499) or placebo (n=2747); n=1958 (23.7%) had a history of heart failure (HF) and n=5006 (60.7%) had pretrial ejection fraction (EF) available, including n=959 with EF ≤45%. Ertugliflozin did not significantly reduce first HHF/CV death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.88 [95% CI, 0.75-1.03]). Overall, ertugliflozin reduced risk for first HHF (HR, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.54-0.90]; P=0.006). Previous HF did not modify this effect (HF: HR, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.44-0.90]; no HF: HR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.54-1.15]; P interaction=0.40). In patients with HF, the risk reduction for first HHF was similar for those with reduced EF ≤45% versus preserved EF >45% or unknown. However, in the overall population, the risk reduction tended to be greater for those with EF ≤45% (HR, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.30-0.76]) versus EF >45% (HR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.58-1.29]). Effect on risk for first HHF was consistent across most subgroups, but greater benefit of ertugliflozin was observed in 3 populations: baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2, albuminuria, and diuretic use (each P interaction <0.05). Ertugliflozin reduced total events of HHF (rate ratio, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.56-0.87]) and total HHF/CV death (rate ratio, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.72-0.96]).

Conclusions: In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, ertugliflozin reduced the risk for first and total HHF and total HHF/CV death, adding further support for the use of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors in primary and secondary prevention of HHF. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT01986881.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus, type 2; heart failure; sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / mortality
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / mortality
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • ertugliflozin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01986881