Study protocol, randomized controlled trial: Reducing symptom burden in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction using ubiquinol and/or D-ribose

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Background: Heart failure (HF), the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, affects 6.6 million adults with an estimated additional 3 million people by 2030. More than 50% of HF patients have heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HFpEF). These patients have impaired cardiac muscle relaxation and diastolic filling, which investigators have associated with cellular energetic impairment. Patients with HFpEF experience symptoms of: (1) fatigue; (2) shortness of breath; and (3) swelling (edema) of the lower extremities. However, current HF guidelines offer no effective treatment to address these underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms. Thus, we propose a biobehavioral symptom science study using ubiquinol and D-ribose (therapeutic interventions) to target mitochondrial bioenergetics to reduce the complex symptoms experienced by patients with HFpEF. Methods: Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, the overall objective is to determine if administering ubiquinol and/or D-ribose to HFpEF patients for 12 weeks would decrease the severity of their complex symptoms and improve their cardiac function. The measures used to assess patients' perceptions of their health status and level of vigor (energy) will be the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) and Vigor subscale of the Profile of Mood States. The 6-min walk test will be used to test exercise tolerance. Left ventricular diastolic function will be assessed using innovative advanced echocardiography software called speckle tracking. We will measure B-type natriuretic peptides (secreted from ventricles in HF) and lactate/ATP ratio (measure of cellular energetics). Discussions: Ubiquinol (active form of Coenzyme Q10) and D-ribose are two potential treatments that can positively affect cellular energetic impairment, the major underlying mechanism of HFpEF. Ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10, is more effective in adults over the age of 50. In patients with HFpEF, mitochondrial deficiency of ubiquinol results in decreased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis and reduced scavenging of reactive oxygen species. D-ribose is a substrate required for ATP synthesis and when administered has been shown to improve impaired myocardial bioenergetics. Therefore, if the biological underpinning of deficient mitochondrial ATP in HFpEF is not addressed, patients will suffer major symptoms including lack of energy, fatigue, exertional dyspnea, and exercise intolerance.




Pierce, J. D., Mahoney, D. E., Hiebert, J. B., Thimmesch, A. R., Diaz, F. J., Smith, C., … Clancy, R. L. (2018). Study protocol, randomized controlled trial: Reducing symptom burden in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction using ubiquinol and/or D-ribose. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 18(1).

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