Effect of Sacubitril/Valsartan vs Valsartan on Left Atrial Volume in Patients With Pre-Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: The PARABLE Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Cardiol. 2023 Apr 1;8(4):366-375. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2023.0065.


Importance: Pre-heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (pre-HFpEF) is common and has no specific therapy aside from cardiovascular risk factor management.

Objective: To investigate the hypothesis that sacubitril/valsartan vs valsartan would reduce left atrial volume index using volumetric cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in patients with pre-HFpEF.

Design, setting, and participants: The Personalized Prospective Comparison of ARNI [angiotensin receptor/neprilysin inhibitor] With ARB [angiotensin-receptor blocker] in Patients With Natriuretic Peptide Elevation (PARABLE) trial was a prospective, double-blind, double-dummy, randomized clinical trial carried out over 18 months between April 2015 and June 2021. The study was conducted at a single outpatient cardiology center in Dublin, Ireland. Of 1460 patients in the STOP-HF program or outpatient cardiology clinics, 461 met initial criteria and were approached for inclusion. Of these, 323 were screened and 250 asymptomatic patients 40 years and older with hypertension or diabetes, elevated B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) greater than 20 pg/mL or N-terminal pro-b-type natriuretic peptide greater than 100 pg/mL, left atrial volume index greater than 28 mL/m2, and preserved ejection fraction greater than 50% were included.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor sacubitril/valsartan titrated to 200 mg twice daily or matching angiotensin receptor blocker valsartan titrated to 160 mg twice daily.

Main outcomes and measures: Maximal left atrial volume index and left ventricular end diastolic volume index, ambulatory pulse pressure, N-terminal pro-BNP, and adverse cardiovascular events.

Results: Among the 250 participants in this study, the median (IQR) age was 72.0 (68.0-77.0) years; 154 participants (61.6%) were men and 96 (38.4%) were women. Most (n = 245 [98.0%]) had hypertension and 60 (24.0%) had type 2 diabetes. Maximal left atrial volume index was increased in patients assigned to receive sacubitril/valsartan (6.9 mL/m2; 95% CI, 0.0 to 13.7) vs valsartan (0.7 mL/m2; 95% CI, -6.3 to 7.7; P < .001) despite reduced markers of filling pressure in both groups. Changes in pulse pressure and N-terminal pro-BNP were lower in the sacubitril/valsartan group (-4.2 mm Hg; 95% CI, -7.2 to -1.21 and -17.7%; 95% CI, -36.9 to 7.4, respectively; P < .001) than the valsartan group (-1.2 mm Hg; 95% CI, -4.1 to 1.7 and 9.4%; 95% CI, -15.6 to 4.9, respectively; P < .001). Major adverse cardiovascular events occurred in 6 patients (4.9%) assigned to sacubitril/valsartan and 17 (13.3%) assigned to receive valsartan (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.17 to 0.89; adjusted P = .04).

Conclusions and relevance: In this trial of patients with pre-HFpEF, sacubitril/valsartan treatment was associated with a greater increase in left atrial volume index and improved markers of cardiovascular risk compared to valsartan. More work is needed to understand the observed increased cardiac volumes and long-term effects of sacubitril/valsartan in patients with pre-HFpEF.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04687111.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Heart Atria
  • Heart Failure* / chemically induced
  • Heart Failure* / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • Neprilysin
  • Stroke Volume
  • Tetrazoles / adverse effects
  • Valsartan / therapeutic use


  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • sacubitril
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Neprilysin
  • Tetrazoles
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Valsartan

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04687111