Metformin Protects Hearts of Diabetic Transplant Recipients

March 23, 2020

Transplanted hearts are protected by the diabetes drug Metformin, when the recipient is diabetic a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds.

Transplanted hearts are protected by the diabetes drug Metformin, when the recipient is diabetic a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds.

The study, which will be published in the March 24, issue of the journal, compared non-diabetic heart transplant patients with diabetic heart transplant patients who received a heart from a non-diabetic donor – some of whom took the drug metformin and some that did not.   The authors found the drug significantly reduced the lipid formation that is thought to lead to cardiomyopathy and heart failure in diabetic patients. 

“Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) have an increased risk of myocardial dysfunction leading to heart failure.  Despite optimal medical therapy many patients with DM proceed to end stage heart failure requiring heart transplantation,” the authors write.  “We show that reduction of myocardial lipid accumulation in DM recipients was associated with metformin therapy.  Thus, patients with concomitant use of metformin show a blunted effect of diabetic milieu on healthy hearts transplanted in the diabetic recipient. “

Metformin is believed to reduce insulin resistance and ectopic lipid accumulation, as well as affect lipid metabolism.  This study was discussed in a JACC podcast that you can find here.