Background and Aims: Traditional cardiovascular risk factors are established predictors of heart failure (HF). However, the human gut microbiota is suggested to potentially interact with the cardiovascular system through the “gut-heart axis”, which induces inflammation and contributes to HF pathogenesis. This systematic review aims to confirm the interconnection between the gut microbiome in HF patients.

Methods: Peer-reviewed human studies comparing the gut microbiota profile in adult patients with HF and healthy controls (HCs) up to April 18, 2022, were searched in Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE, SCOPUS, and the Cochrane Library. The quality of the included studies was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS).

Results: A total of nine studies, including 317 HF patients and 510 HCs, were included in the review. Decreased gut microbiota richness and similar microbial diversity (alpha diversity), and significantly different gut microbiota composition (beta diversity) were observed between HF patients and HCs. In comparison to HCs, HF patients had a greater abundance of Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Synergistetes phyla; Enterococcus, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and Veilonella genera and Ruminococcus gnavus, Streptococcus sp., and Veilonella sp. species. In contrast, there was decreased abundance of Firmicutes phylum; Blautia, Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium, and Lachnospiraceae FCS020 genera; and Dorea longicatena, Eubacterium rectale, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Oscillibacter sp., and Sutterella wadsworthensis species in HF patients.

Conclusions: Gut microbiota diversity, richness, and composition in HF patients differ significantly from the healthy population. Overall, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing gut microbiota was depleted in HF patients. However, different underlying comorbidities, environments, lifestyles, and dietary choices could affect gut microbiota heterogeneity.


SCFA, Firmicutes, short-chain fatty acid, gut microbiota, dysbiosis, heart failure