Anti-Arrhythmic Effects of Heart Failure Guideline-Directed Medical Therapy and Their Role in the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death: From Beta-Blockers to Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors and Beyond

J Clin Med. 2024 Feb 26;13(5):1316. doi: 10.3390/jcm13051316.


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) accounts for a substantial proportion of mortality in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), frequently triggered by ventricular arrhythmias (VA). This review aims to analyze the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying VA and SCD in HFrEF and evaluate the effectiveness of guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) in reducing SCD. Beta-blockers, angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitors, and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists have shown significant efficacy in reducing SCD risk. While angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers exert beneficial impacts on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, their direct role in SCD prevention remains less clear. Emerging treatments like sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors show promise but necessitate further research for conclusive evidence. The favorable outcomes of those molecules on VA are notably attributable to sympathetic nervous system modulation, structural remodeling attenuation, and ion channel stabilization. A multidimensional pharmacological approach targeting those pathophysiological mechanisms offers a complete and synergy approach to reducing SCD risk, thereby highlighting the importance of optimizing GDMT for HFrEF. The current landscape of HFrEF pharmacotherapy is evolving, with ongoing research needed to clarify the full extent of the anti-arrhythmic benefits offered by both existing and new treatments.

Keywords: guideline-directed medical therapy; heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; pharmacological management; sudden cardiac death; ventricular arrhythmias.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.