Trends in prevalence of comorbidities in heart failure clinical trials

Muhammad Shahzeb Khan, Ayman Samman Tahhan, Muthiah Vaduganathan, Stephen J. Greene, Alaaeddin Alrohaibani, Stefan D. Anker, Orly Vardeny, Gregg C. Fonarow, Javed Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Aims: The primary objective of this systematic review was to estimate the prevalence and temporal changes in chronic comorbid conditions reported in heart failure (HF) clinical trials. Methods and results: We searched MEDLINE for HF trials enrolling more than 400 patients published between 2001 and 2016.Trials were divided into HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), or trials enrolling regardless of ejection fraction. The prevalence of baseline chronic comorbid conditions was categorized according to the algorithm proposed by the Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse, which is used to analyse Medicare data. To test for a trend in the prevalence of comorbid conditions, linear regression models were used to evaluate temporal trends in prevalence of comorbidities. Overall, 118 clinical trials enrolling a cumulative total of 215 508 patients were included. Across all comorbidities examined, data were reported in a mean of 35% of trials, without significant improvement during the study period. Reporting of comorbidities was more common in HFrEF trials (51%) compared with HFpEF trials (27%). Among trials reporting data, hypertension (63%), ischaemic heart disease (44%), hyperlipidaemia (48%), diabetes (33%), chronic kidney disease (25%) and atrial fibrillation (25%) were the major comorbidities. The prevalence of comorbidities including hypertension, atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease increased over time while the prevalence of smoking decreased in HFrEF trials. Conclusion: Many HF trials do not report baseline comorbidities. A more rigorous, systematic, and standardized framework needs to be adopted for future clinical trials to ensure adequate comorbidity reporting and improve recruitment of multi-morbid HF patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1032-1042
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Ayman Samman Tahhan is supported by the Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation (Atlanta, GA) and NIH/NIA grant AG051633. Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan is supported by the KL2/Catalyst Medical Research Investigator Training award from Harvard Catalyst (NIH/NCATS Award UL 1TR002541). Dr. Stephen J. Greene is supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute T32 postdoctoral training grant (T32HL069749?14) and a Heart Failure Society of America/Emergency Medicine Foundation Acute Heart Failure Young Investigator Award funded by Novartis. Conflict of interest: M.V. serves on advisory boards for Amgen, AstraZeneca, Baxter Healthcare, Bayer AG, and Boehringer Ingelheim, and participates on clinical endpoint committees for studies sponsored by Novartis and the NIH. S.J.G. has received research support from Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis, and serves on an advisory board for Amgen. S.D.A. has received research support from Vifor International & Abbott Vascular, and fees for consultancy and/or speaking from AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Respicardia, Impulse Dynamics, Janssen, Novartis, Servier and Vifor International. G.C.F. reports consulting for Abbott, Amgen, Bayer, Janssen, Medtronic, and Novartis. J.B. has received research support from the NIH and European Union; and has been a consultant for Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CVRx, Janssen, Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic, Merck, Novartis, Relypsa, Vifor Pharma, and ZS Pharma. The other authors have nothing to disclose.


  • Clinical trials
  • Comorbidities
  • Heart failure
  • Trends

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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