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Eur J Heart Fail. 2018 Oct;20(10):1385-1391. doi: 10.1002/ejhf.1286. Epub 2018 Aug 7.

Treating heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: learning from pulmonary fibrosis.

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Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Sciences, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy.


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) has a poor prognosis, and an effective treatment is currently lacking. Increasing evidence suggests a prevailing pathogenic role of cardiac fibrosis in HFpEF, which generates the possibility of a mechanistic overlap with pulmonary fibrosis. Indeed, cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis share some characteristics and molecular pathways, such as that of transforming growth factor-β. If pulmonary and cardiac fibrosis share common pathways, we can hypothesize a beneficial effect of anti-fibrotic drugs used in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on cardiac outcomes. Of note, pirfenidone has been tested in animal models of cardiac fibrosis and was found to be effective in reducing ventricular remodelling. Yet, no results are hitherto available for humans. In this review article, we discuss the potential benefit of anti-fibrotic treatment in HFpEF. In particular, we propose to reappraise safety data collected in placebo-controlled trials of anti-fibrotic drugs in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, to explore the hypothesis that these might reduce cardiac fibrosis.


Fibrosis; Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis


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