Malnutrition is common in patients with heart failure (HF) but is often neglected, despite guidelines suggesting that all hospitalised patients should undergo nutritional screening within 24-hours of admission.
This study investigated the nutritional screening rates and determined the immediate and long-term clinical outcomes in patients with HF admitted at two tertiary hospitals in Australia.
Nutritional screening was assessed by the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) completion rates. Patients were classified into two categories based on their MUST scores (0=low malnutrition risk and ≥1=at risk of malnutrition). Propensity-score-matching (PSM) was used to match 20 variables depending upon the risk of malnutrition. Clinical outcomes included the days-alive-and-out-of-hospital at 90 days of discharge (DAOH90), length of hospital stay, in-hospital, 30-day and 180-day mortality and 30-day readmissions.
There were 5,734 HF admissions between 2013–2020, of whom, only 789 (13.8%) patients underwent MUST screening. The mean (SD) age was 76.2 (14.0) years and 51.9% were males. Five-hundred and fifty-four (554) (70.2%) patients were at low malnutrition risk and 235 (29.8%) at risk of malnutrition. In HF patients, who were at risk of malnutrition, the DAOH90 were lower by 5.9 days (95% CI -11.49 to -0.42, p=0.035) and 180-day mortality was significantly worse (coefficient 0.10, 95% CI 0.02–0.18, p=0.007) compared to those who were at low risk of malnutrition. However, other clinical outcomes were similar between the two groups.
Nutrition screening is poor in hospitalised HF patients and long-term but not short-term clinical outcomes were worse in malnourished HF patients.
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Published online: November 22, 2022
Accepted: October 2, 2022
Received in revised form: September 19, 2022
Received: May 10, 2022
© 2022 Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.