HFpEF trial - Obesity medication proves effective in treating patients with heart failure

Presented by the lead author Mikhail Kosiborod, MD; Vice President, Research; Co-Director, Haverty Cardiometabolic Center of Excellence; Executive Director, Cardiometabolic Center Alliance; Ben McAllister, MD, Endowed Chair; and Professor of Medicine, University of Missouri–Kansas City

Dr. Kosiborod presented the main results of STEP-HFpEF trial during the opening late breaking clinical trial session at the European Society of Cardiology Congress (ESC Congress)—the world’s largest cardiology conference—on Friday, August 25 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The results have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine at the time of the presentation.

“To our knowledge, this is the first trial of its kind to specifically target obesity as a treatment strategy in patients with heart failure,” Dr. Kosiborod said. “These findings will likely have a significant impact on clinical practice, especially since there are so few effective therapies for this patient group. Furthermore, the results of STEP-HFpEF should change the nature of the conversation about the role of obesity in heart failure from a coexisting condition to a root cause and a target for intervention.”

STEP-HFpEF was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at 96 sites in 13 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The trial recruited 529 patients with symptomatic heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and obesity, with the goal of evaluating the effects of semaglutide, a potent GLP1 receptor agonist, versus placebo on heart failure-related outcomes and weight loss. Results showed that treatment with semaglutide led to large improvements in heart failure-related symptoms and physical function, reduced inflammation and resulted in greater weight loss compared with placebo.


New England Journal of Medicine: Semaglutide in Patients with Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction and Obesity 

Nature: Semaglutide in Hfpef Across Obesity Class and By Body Weight Reduction: A Prespecified Analysis of the STEP-Hfpef Trial

Mikhail Kosiborod, MD

Learn more

About Saint Luke's Cardiovascular Research

Industry-Leading Clinical Research     
Clinical research is the foundation for improving patient care. Saint Luke’s uses leading-edge research to advance cardiovascular medicine, always with the goal of benefiting the patient, continuously striving to improve outcomes and patients' quality of life.

Advancing Cardiovascular Medicine     
At Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, our research programs span multiple key areas, including cardiac transplantation, electrophysiology, cardiac imaging, preventative cardiology, and cardiometabolic disease.

In addition to supporting clinical research, Saint Luke's has centers of cardiovascular excellence and core laboratories in cardiovascular outcomes and cardiometabolic research; health economics and technology assessment; intravascular imaging; and noninvasive imaging.

Our program is truly comprehensive, from preventive care to treating the most complex and serious conditions.

A Leader In Cardiovascular Research     
In recent years, Saint Luke’s researchers have annually published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles in well-respected medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of American Medical Association, The Lancet, Circulation, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The Heart Institute serves as one of four designated data analytic centers for the American College of Cardiology and the National Cardiovascular Data Registry, and is leading multiple global trials across different therapeutic areas.

Significant Accomplishments In Research

  • Actively involved in more than 100 clinical trials
  • Pioneers in Interventional Cardiology
  • Developed the international standards for quantifying patient-centered outcomes
    • Development of the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire
    • Development of the Seattle Angina Questionnaire
    • Development of the Peripheral Artery Questionnaire
  • International, practice-changing ISCHEMIA Trial
  • Leaders in the field of Cardiometabolic Disease
    • Central in studying SGLT2 inhibitors—first entirely novel class of medication in the past two decades to be approved for the treatment of heart failure across the entire range of ejection fractions
    • Leading the Design and Execution of numerous clinical trials of SGLT2 inhibitors with impact for international guidelines and clinical practice: DEFINE HF, PRESERVED HF
    • DARE-19
    • Cardiometabolic Center of Excellence, and Cardiometabolic Center Alliance
    • First-of-a-kind decentralized trial (CHIEF-HF)
  • Educating the next generation of clinicians and investigators
    • Advanced fellowships in all domains of cardiology
    • NIH-funded T32 in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes Research
    • Ben McCallister, MD, Clinical Scholar Program
About Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute offers some of the most comprehensive heart and vascular care in the nation. Ranked in the top 50 in the country for cardiology, heart, and vascular surgery by U.S. News & World Report, the experts at the Heart Institute use the latest technology, research, and innovations to treat the full range of cardiovascular services, from disease prevention to heart transplantation.

With more specialized physicians, more experience, and more innovative treatment options, the Heart Institute is the third hospital in the U.S. to achieve Comprehensive Cardiac Center certification from The Joint Commission. Saint Luke's is proud to help advance cardiovascular care in the nation.


Aug. 25, 2023
CNN: Weight-Loss Drug Wegovy Produces ‘Largest Benefit Ever Seen’ for Patients with Most Common Form of Heart Failure, Trial Finds
The diabetes and weight loss drug semaglutide significantly reduced symptoms and improved quality of life in people with obesity and the most common form of heart failure in a clinical trial.
Aug. 25, 2023
U.S. News & World Report: Wegovy May Be Valuable New Option for Heart Failure Patients
Weight-loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide) and its diabetes-focused cousin, Ozempic, have already upended the treatment of both obesity and diabetes, with sales of both drugs skyrocketing.

More Headlines

Good Morning America: New study highlights benefits to weight loss drugs

CBS Evening News: Study Shows Wegovy May Reduce Risk of Heart Failure

The New York Times: New York Times: Obesity Treatment Relieves Heart Failure Symptoms, Drugmaker’s Study Finds

Healthline: Wegovy Reduced Heart Failure Symptoms, New Study Finds

The Wall Street Journal: Weight-Loss Drug Wegovy Also Works Against Heart Failure

The Guardian: Weight-loss drug can reverse heart failure symptoms, study finds

Medpage Today: Wegovy Reduces Heavy Symptom Burden of Obesity-Related Heart Failure

WebMD: Weight Loss Drug Wegovy Also Works Against Heart Failure: Study

Healio: Semaglutide drives ‘substantial’ improvements in heart failure symptoms: STEP-HFpEF

Medscape: Wegovy Scores HFpEF Benefits in People With Obesity

STAT News: Weight Loss Drug Wegovy Improves Function in People with Common Type of Heart Failure

Daily Mail: Ozempic and Wegovy can reverse heart disease symptoms: Slimming jabs offer hopes of cure as study suggests key ingredient semaglutide is three times more effective than existing treatments

The Times: Weight-loss injections like Ozempic could be key to curing heart failure

Independent: Weight loss jabs improve heart failure symptoms in obese patients, says study

tctMD: STEP-HFpEF: Semaglutide Cuts Weight and Symptoms, Boosts Function

American Journal of Managed Care: Results for Semaglutide Show Obesity Is a “Root Cause” of HFpEF; Payer Coverage Needed, Kosiborod Says

HCPLive: Semaglutide 2.4 mg Shows Benefit as Treatment for Heart Failure with Obesity

Cardiovascular Business: Weight loss drug semaglutide linked to multiple benefits for heart failure patients

MedicineNet: Wegovy May Be Valuable New Option for Heart Failure Patients

New York Post: Wegovy, Ozempic can help with heart failure symptoms, study finds

Patient Care: Semaglutide 2.4 mg Significantly Reduces HF Symptom Burden, Body Weight in Adults with HFpEF and Obesity

PACE-CME: GLP-1RA improves HF symptoms and physical function in patients with HFpEF and obesity

News Medical Life Science: Semaglutide could be a game-changer for patients with HFpEF and obesity

MPR-Medical Professionals Reference: Semaglutide Beneficial for Patients With HFpEF and Obesity

ScienceDirect: Effects of once-weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg on C-reactive protein in adults with overweight or obesity (STEP 1, 2, and 3): exploratory analyses of three randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trials

Fierce Pharma: On a roll, Novo's star obesity drug Wegovy shows benefits in patients with heart failure

HealthManagement: #ESCCongress2023: Semaglutide Improves Heart Failure-Related Symptoms, Physical Function

KSHB: Kansas City Doctors are at Center of Breakthrough Research for Heart Failure Patients

Contact Us


Laurel Gifford  
Senior Director of Media Relations  

Emily Hohenberg​  
Director of Media Relations  

Lindsey Stich  
Director of Media Relations