Heart Failure Network (HFN) Xanthine Oxidase Inhibition for Hyperuricemic Heart Failure Patients (EXACT HF)

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Accession Number

Study Type
Clinical Trial

Collection Type
Open BioLINCC Study See bottom of this webpage for request information

Study Period
May 2010-June 2014

NHLBI Division

Dataset(s) Last Updated
January 3, 2018


Commercial Use Data Restrictions No

Data Restrictions Based On Area Of Research No


To determine the effect of allopurinol after 24 weeks on a composite clinical endpoint that classifies subject’s clinical status (improved, worsened, unchanged) in patients with heart failure and high uric acid levels.


Morbidity and mortality rates for patients with heart failure are high, despite guideline-recommended therapy. Heart failure is characterized by an imbalance between left ventricular (LV) performance and myocardial energy consumption. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests oxidative stress contributes to ventricular and vascular remodeling, and disease progression in heart failure. Targeting potential source(s) of oxidative stress, e.g. Xanthine oxidase (XO), was the focus of recent clinical trials and epidemiological studies. Increased XO activity has been shown to lead to production of superoxide and uric acid (UA). Serum uric acid levels are included in heart failure risk scores, and hyperuricemia is present in about 25% of patients with heart failure. Hyperuricemia is associated with exercise intolerance, reduced survival, and worsening symptoms. The EXACT-HF trial tested allopurinol, an inhibitor of XO, as a potential target therapy for hyperuricemic heart failure patients.


253 subjects were enrolled in the EXACT-HF study. 128 participants were randomized to the allopurinol arm, and of those participants, 119 completed the trial and 9 did not. 125 participants were randomized to the placebo arm, and of those participants, 116 completed the trial and 9 did not.

Adult patients from both sexes were eligible for the EXACT-HF study. The participants must have been diagnosed with NYHA class II-IV heart failure due to ischemic or non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 40% by echocardiography and heart failure symptoms for 3 months despite standard treatment, serum uric acid level ≥ 9.5 mg/dl, and at least one of the following additional markers of increased risk: hospitalization, ER visit or urgent clinic visit for heart failure requiring IV diuretics within the previous 12 months; left ventricular ejection fraction ≤ 25; B-type natriuretic peptide level > 250 pg/ml.


EXACT-HF was a multi-center, double-blind, placebo controlled, 24-week trial of allopurinol. Eligible participants had to be receiving a stable regimen for at least two weeks (3 months for beta-blockers) prior to randomization. Participants were randomized by an automated system to either the allopurinol or placebo arm, and started treatment within 12 hours of completing the baseline visit. During the first week, participants in both treatment arms received 300mg daily of the respective medications. For the following 23 weeks, participants in both treatment arms received 600mg daily of the respective medications. Patients unable to tolerate 600 mg were maintained on 300 mg.

The primary endpoint was a composite clinical endpoint (CCE) that classified a subject’s clinical status as improved, worsened, or unchanged at 24 weeks. The CCE was determined based on the following: death; hospitalization, emergency room visit or emergent clinic visit for worsening HF; medication change for worsening HF; and Patient Global Assessment using a 7-point scale. Secondary endpoints at 12 and 24 weeks included changes in quality of life as assessed by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, and submaximal exercise capacity as assessed by a 6-minute walk test.


Participants who received allopurinol had significantly less serum uric acid laboratory levels after 24 weeks; however, no significant difference was observed in the primary and secondary endpoints between the allopurinol and placebo-treated patients. Therefore, in high-risk HF patients with reduced ejection fraction and elevated uric acid levels, xanthine oxidase inhibition with allopurinol failed to improve clinical status, exercise capacity, quality of life, or LVEF at 24 weeks.

Circulation. 2015 May 19; 131(20):1763-71

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