Malnutrition in patients suffering from chronic heart failure; the nurse's care

Authors

  • Jacobsson Anna,

    1. Department of Medicine, Cardiac Care Unit, Halmstad Central Hospital, Halmstad, Sweden
    2. School of Social & Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Pihl-Lindgren Emma,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, Cardiac Care Unit, Halmstad Central Hospital, Halmstad, Sweden
    2. School of Social & Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Fridlund Bengt

    1. School of Social & Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
    2. Department of Medicine and Care, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Chronic heart failure is associated with a bad prognosis with considerably shortened survival and repeated hospitalisations. Patients suffering from heart failure also have symptoms that can affect their food intake, for example, tiredness when strained, breathing difficulties and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite and ascites. Pharmacological therapy can lead to a loss of appetite, which will make the intake of food inadequate to fill the required energy and nutritional needs. The nurse's interest in and knowledge of diet issues can improve these patients' nutritional status. The aim of this literature review was to describe the nurse's interventions regarding malnutrition in patients suffering from chronic heart failure. The literature search gave 13 articles, which were analysed, and sentences whose content was related to the aim were identified. Three areas of content appeared; drug treatment and consequences, gastrointestinal effects, and information and education. The results show that the nutritional status of these patients can be significantly improved by means of simple nursing interventions. Future research should focus on controlled experimental studies to evaluate differences in body weight, body mass index and quality of life between patients suffering from chronic heart failure, who are taking part in a fully enriched nutrition intervention, and patients suffering from chronic heart failure, who are eating their normal diet.

Ancillary