This is the classic website, which will be retired eventually. Please visit the modernized instead.
Working… Menu

GutHeart: Targeting Gut Microbiota to Treat Heart Failure

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02637167
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified March 2019 by Lars Gullestad, Oslo University Hospital.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
First Posted : December 22, 2015
Last Update Posted : March 26, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Lars Gullestad, Oslo University Hospital

Brief Summary:
The objective of this trial is to study the effect of targeting the gut microbiota in patients with heart failure (HF). First, the investigators will characterize gut microbiota composition in patients with various degree of systolic HF as compared with healthy controls. Second, the potential impact of targeting gut microbiota to improve HF will be investigated through an open label randomized controlled trial (RCT) of probiotics, antibiotics and controls. The hypothesis being tested is that the gut microbiota is altered in HF; that gut microbiota of HF patients, through interaction with the intestinal and systemic innate immune system, contribute to a low-grade systemic inflammation as well as metabolic disturbances in these patients; and that an intervention with probiotics and the non-absorbable antibiotic Rifaximin attenuates these inflammatory and metabolic disturbances and improves heart function through modulation of the gut microbiota.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Systolic Heart Failure Drug: Rifaximin Drug: Saccharomyces boulardii Phase 2

Detailed Description:

While most studies on inflammation in heart failure (HF) have focused on down-stream mediators of inflammation and tissue damage, the present study will focus on alterations of the gut microbiota as a potential upstream arm in the activation of inflammatory responses. The gut microbiota may play a central role not only in the inflammatory arm of the pathogenesis of HF, but could also be involved in the induction of metabolic disturbances that contribute to the progression of this disorder. Decompensated HF is characterized by decreased cardiac output and congestion, contributing to edema and ischemia of the gut wall. Consequently, structural and functional changes occur, causing increased gut permeability.

Several studies have shown that low grade leakage of microbial products such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS), occurs across the gut wall, potentially causing systemic inflammation by activation of Toll like receptors (TLRs). Very small amounts of LPS have been shown to effectively induce release of TNFα 6, which acts as a cardiosuppressor via several pathways, including reduced mitochondrial activity, altered calcium homeostasis and impaired β-adrenergic signaling in cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, the investigators have recently shown that the microbiota-dependent marker TMAO is associated with clinical outcome in chronic HF. Interestingly, gut decontamination with antibiotics have been shown to reduce intestinal LPS-levels, monocyte expression of the LPS-receptor CD14 and production of TNFα. In addition, selective gut decontamination has improved postoperative outcome in cardiac surgery patients. However, at present there are no studies that have fully characterized the gut microbiota in HF patients and our knowledge of the interaction between gut microbiota, systemic inflammatory, metabolic disturbances and myocardial dysfunction in these patients are scarce.

This project will focus on the gut microbiota as a potential therapeutic target in HF, through an open label randomized controlled trial (RCT) of probiotics, antibiotics and controls, with improved heart function as primary end point.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 150 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: GutHeart: Targeting Gut Microbiota to Treat Heart Failure
Study Start Date : March 11, 2016
Estimated Primary Completion Date : June 20, 2019
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Heart Failure
Drug Information available for: Rifaximin

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Rifaximin
Rifaximin: one tablet (550 mg) morning and evening for three months
Drug: Rifaximin
Rifaximin has negligible intestinal absorption after oral administration, giving it a good safety profile. Unlike systemically available antibiotics, this antimicrobial allows localized enteric targeting of bacteria and is associated with a minimal risk of systemic toxicity or side effects.
Other Name: Xifaxan

Active Comparator: Saccharomyces boulardii
S. boulardii: two capsules (500 mg) morning and evening for three months
Drug: Saccharomyces boulardii
The same advantage described above to Rifaximin applies to S. Boulardii, which might be therapeutically sufficient with the advantage of being less disruptive to the instestinal microbiota than broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Other Name: Precosa

No Intervention: Control group
The third group receives no intervention

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. baseline-adjusted LVEF as measured by echocardiography [ Time Frame: after 3 months of intervention ]
    A General Electrics Healthcare Vivid E9 Doppler ultrasound scanner or a similar, top specified cardiac ultrasound device will be used for echocardiographic imaging. Patients are examined in the lateral recumbent position after > 5 minutes of rest at baseline, prior to the start of study drug treatment, and at follow-up after 3 months, prior to study drug discontinuation. The heart is visualized by the standard ultrasonic techniques and imaging planes as recommended by the European society of echocardiography20,21 providing a comprehensive hemodynamic and valvular assessment.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Chao1 (index) [ Time Frame: at baseline ]
    It will be analyzed by sequencing of 16s ribosomal RNA gene (Illumina chemistry)

  2. Chao1 (index) [ Time Frame: after 3 months ]
    It will be analyzed by sequencing of 16s ribosomal RNA gene (Illumina chemistry)

  3. Chao1 (index) [ Time Frame: after 6 months ]
    It will be analyzed by sequencing of 16s ribosomal RNA gene (Illumina chemistry)

  4. TMAO [ Time Frame: at baseline ]
  5. TMAO [ Time Frame: after 3 months ]
  6. Left ventricular end diastolic volume [ Time Frame: at baseline ]
  7. Left ventricular end diastolic volume [ Time Frame: after 3 months ]
  8. CRP [ Time Frame: at baseline ]
  9. CRP [ Time Frame: after 3 months ]
  10. Health-related quality of life score [ Time Frame: at baseline and after 3 months ]
    measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire

  11. Functional capacity [ Time Frame: at baseline and after 3 months ]
    6 minutes walk test

  12. Number of patients with adverse events (any event) [ Time Frame: at baseline, after 1 month, after 3 month and after 6 months ]
  13. Number of adverse events (any event) [ Time Frame: at baseline, after 1 month, after 3 month and after 6 months ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 74 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age, and less than 75.
  • Have heart failure in New York Heart Association class II or III
  • Echocardiographically verified LVEF < 40 %.
  • On optimal treatment for at least 3 months
  • Must have lab values as the following:

Hemoglobin above 10 g/l; eGFR above 30 ml/min; ALT < 150 units/l

  • Signed informed consent and expected cooperation of the patients for the treatment and follow up must be obtained and documented according to ICH GCP, and national/local regulations.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Treatment with antibiotics or probiotics within the last 12 weeks
  • History of hypersensitivity to Rifaximin or other Rifamycin derived antimicrobial agents, or any of the components of Xifaxan
  • History of hypersensitivity to S. boulardii, yeast, or any of the components of Precosa
  • Polypharmacia with increased risk for interactions. i.e. patient with an extensive medication lists (e.g. 10 drugs or more) which may influence with the patient safety or compromise the study results
  • Malignancy of any cause, excluding basal cell carcinoma of the skin
  • Acute coronary syndrome over the last 12 weeks
  • Severely impaired kidney function (i.e., estimated glomerular filtration rate < 30 ml/minute/1.73 m2)
  • Impaired liver function (Alanine aminotransferase > 150 U/l) or decompensated liver cirrhosis classified as Child-Pugh B or C.
  • On-going infection, including GI infection
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Active myocarditis, including Chagas disease
  • Severe primary valvular heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation with ventricular frequency > 100/min
  • Any other, severe co morbid disease that must be expected to severely reduce the efficacy of the interventional products, survival or compliance
  • Treatment with immunosuppressive drugs
  • Treatment with rifamycins other than Rifaximin
  • Central venous catheter
  • Pregnancy or planned pregnancy
  • Nursing
  • Poor compliance
  • Any reason why, in the opinion of the investigator, the patient should not participate

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02637167

Layout table for location contacts
Contact: Lars L Gullestad, MD, Prof.
Contact: Kaspar Broch, MD

Layout table for location information
Oslo University Hospital - Rikshospitalet Recruiting
Oslo, Norway, 0372
Contact: Cristiane C Mayerhofer, MD    +47 97880206   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Oslo University Hospital
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Lars L Gullestad, MD, Prof Oslo University Hospital

Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: Lars Gullestad, Professor, Oslo University Hospital Identifier: NCT02637167    
Other Study ID Numbers: GutHeart version 2
First Posted: December 22, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 26, 2019
Last Verified: March 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Yes
Keywords provided by Lars Gullestad, Oslo University Hospital:
Heart failure
Saccharomyces boulardii
gut microbiota
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Heart Failure
Heart Failure, Systolic
Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Anti-Infective Agents
Gastrointestinal Agents