Heart, Lung and Circulation
Original Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 3, P330-337, March 2023

Impact of Malnutrition on Clinical Outcomes of Acutely Hospitalised Heart Failure Patients at Two Tertiary Hospitals in Australia: An Observational Study

Published:November 22, 2022DOI:


      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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