Can diabetes medication improve heart structure?

Washington: According to a recent study, diabetes medication empagliflozin can improve cardiac structure in diabetics who also have heart disease.

Led by St. Michael’s Hospital researchers, the study was presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.

“Empagliflozin is used to reduce glucose in diabetes patients, but it also has profound cardiovascular benefits,” said Dr Subodh Verma.

“The reasons why this medication results in profound reductions in death and heart failure are largely unknown,” added Dr Verma. “And whether it can directly and favourably remodel the heart has been an important unanswered question.”

The increased thickness of the heart’s left ventricle is associated with heart disease and heart failure. The study found that when the subjects were given empagliflozin, it caused a significant regression in left ventricular mass index. The left ventricular mass index was assessed using cardiac MRI, the gold standard method for evaluating heart function.

“The results are truly impressive since they were observed on top of excellent standard of care and seen within a very short period of time,” said Dr Connelly.

Dr Mazer added that the data “provide important clues as to how this medication is working, and how it may prevent heart failure in people with Type 2 diabetes.”