Background: The efficacy of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists or aldosterone antagonists in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) is well known. Less is known about their effectiveness in real-world older patients with HFrEF. Methods: Of the 8206 patients with heart failure and ejection fraction ≤35% without prior spironolactone use in the Medicare-linked OPTIMIZE-HF registry, 6986 were eligible for spironolactone therapy based on serum creatinine criteria (men ≤2.5 mg/dL, women ≤2.0 mg/dL) and 865 received a discharge prescription for spironolactone. Using propensity scores for spironolactone use, we assembled a matched cohort of 1724 (862 pairs) patients receiving and not receiving spironolactone, balanced on 58 baseline characteristics (Creatinine Cohort: mean age, 75 years, 42% women, 17% African American). We repeated the above process to assemble a secondary matched cohort of 1638 (819 pairs) patients with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2 (eGFR Cohort: mean age, 75 years, 42% women, 17% African American). Results: In the matched Creatinine Cohort, spironolactone-associated hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause mortality, heart failure readmission, and combined endpoint of heart failure readmission or all-cause mortality were 0.92 (0.81-1.03), 0.87 (0.77-0.99), and 0.87 (0.79-0.97), respectively. Respective hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) in the matched eGFR Cohort were 0.87 (0.77-0.98), 0.92 (0.80-1.05), and 0.91 (0.82-1.02). Conclusions: These findings provide evidence of consistent, albeit modest, clinical effectiveness of spironolactone in older patients with HFrEF regardless of renal eligibility criteria used. Additional strategies are needed to improve the effectiveness of aldosterone antagonists in clinical practice.
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