Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weight gain increases likelihood of hospital admission among HF patients

Weight gain increases likelihood of hospital admission among HF patients

Circulation 2007; Advance online publication

MedWire News: Weight gain in heart failure (HF) patients puts them at increased risk for hospitalization, suggests a study.

"We found that even small amounts of weight gain - as small as just over two pounds - predict hospitalization," said lead author Sarwat Chaudhry (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA).

Increases in body weight associated with hospitalization began at least a week before admission.

Chaudhry commented: "We found that weight gain starts well before hospitalization, giving doctors and patients at least a few days to take steps to avoid the need for hospitalization."

Chaudhry's team conducted a nested case-control study among HF patients who weighed themselves every day as part of a home monitoring system. The researchers compared the pre-hospitalization records of 134 hospitalized HF patients with the records of 134 HF patients who did not require hospitalization.

Patterns in daily weight change were similar between the groups until a month before hospitalization, when those who were subsequently hospitalized started to gain more weight.

Within the week before hospitalization, changes in daily weight started to diverge more noticeably, whereas the weight of those not hospitalized remained fairly stable. Compared with patients who gained an average of 2 lbs (1kg) or less, those who gained on average 2-5 lbs were 2.8 times as likely to be hospitalized.

Meanwhile those who gained 5-10 lbs had 4.5 times the odds of being hospitalized, while those who gained more than 10 lbs had 7.7 times the odds.

"Our data suggest that a simple bathroom scale could empower patients in managing their own disease and alert their physicians to early signs of HF decompensation.

"Ultimately, our data may help change the standard of care to prevent patients form being hospitalized, improve their quality of life, and save precious healthcare resources."

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