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New England Journal of Medicine publishes pivotal diabetes cardiovascular study led by Dr. Bernard Zinman

With cardiovascular disease connected to 50 per cent of mortality rates in diabetes patients, there is an urgency to ensuring type 2 diabetes treatments protect patients' hearts and circulation.  A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, has found that a newer diabetes treatment can reduce the risk of death caused by cardiovascular disease by 38 per cent. These findings could significantly impact how type 2 diabetes patients are now treated. The study was led by Dr. Bernard Zinman, Director of the Leadership Sinai Diabetes Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital; Sam, Judy Pencer Family Chair in Diabetes Research; and Senior Scientist at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.

“These findings are good news for type 2 diabetes patients, many of whom are at higher risk for cardiovascular problems, along with a host of other complications,” said Dr. Zinman, who was the lead investigator. “I expect this new information to impact clinical practice and have a significant benefit for many patients with type 2 diabetes.”

“Most drugs used today to treat type-2 diabetes are aimed at reducing blood sugar levels and only indirectly impact the associated complications of the disease such as cardiovascular damage,” noted Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. “What this study shows, remarkably, is that not only doesn’t empaglifozin reduce blood glucose, as has been observed with some other treatments, it can significantly improve cardiovascular outcomes.”

Mount Sinai Hospital and the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, both part of the Sinai Health System, are widely recognized as leaders in diabetes research and treatment.  The Hospital’s clinical leadership in diabetes has been important in helping define clinical practice guidelines and clinician education programs. The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute is ranked amongst the top in world-wide citations for diabetes research, compared to other medical research institutes.


  • The study was a long-term clinical trial investigating cardiovascular outcomes for empagliflozin and SGLT2 inhibitor in more than 7,000 adults in 42 countries with type 2 diabetes at high risk for cardiovascular events.
  • Patients treated with empagliflozin had:
    • 38% relative risk reduction of death from cardiovascular causes (3.7%, vs. 5.9% in the placebo group)
    • 35% relative risk reduction of hospitalization for heart failure (2.7%, vs. 4.1%, in the placebo group)
    • 32% relative risk  reduction of death from any cause (5.7% and 8.3%, in the placebo group)


The full study is available here.