Cachexia in hospitalized patients with heart failure

Natália Fernandes dos Santos, Cláudia Porto Sabino Pinho, Ana Jéssica Pacheco Ferro Cardoso, Roberta Maria Lins Mendes


Aims: to evaluate cachexia prevalence in hospitalized heart failure (HF) patients by comparing two methods for diagnosing cachexia and alterations in each component involved in its diagnosis.

Method: a cross-sectional study, involving patients diagnosed with HF and admitted between April and August 2015 to a public hospital in the Brazilian Northeast. Cardiac cachexia was defined using the Cachexia Consensus criteria (Washington, DC), which defines cachexia as ≥ 5% unintentional weight loss in the previous 12 months or a body mass index (BMI) ≤ 20.0 kg/m², in combination with at least two of the following criteria: fatigue, anorexia, low hand grip strength, low muscle strength, and biological alterations (hemoglobin < 12 g/dl, albumin < 3.2 g/dl, and PCR ≥ 5 mg/dl), and for comparative purposes a diagnostic criterion which considers weight loss ≥ 6% in at least six months as a cachexia diagnosis.

Results: one hundred and fifty-six individuals were evaluated, with an average age of 59.1 (± 15.3). Cachexia prevalence was 37.2% and associated with a low BMI (p < 0.001), low muscle mass (p < 0.001), reduced ejection fraction (p = 0.005), hypoalbuminemia (p = 0.040), and anemia (p = 0.002). Among the diagnostic components, the greatest alterations were observed in relation to fatigue (88.2%), anorexia (72.1%) and weight loss (61.7%).

Conclusions: the high prevalence of diagnosed cachexia indicates that this condition is common and is associated with poor nutritional state and clinical condition.

Palabras clave

cachexia; heart failure; status nutritional

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