Abstract 4606: Appetite Ratings on Single-item Visual Analog Scale Identify Patients with Heart Failure at Risk for Malnutrition
Background: Patients with heart failure (HF) are at risk for malnutrition due to multiple factors. A simple, clinically feasible tool to identify risk for malnutrition is needed. Visual analog scales have been used in studies on appetite but it is unknown whether an appetite scale can be used to identify patients with HF at risk for malnutrition.
Purpose: To determine whether differences in kcal and protein intake could be identified in patients with HF grouped by their appetite rating.
Method: A total of 137 patients (63% male, 60 ± 12 years, 56% NYHA class III/IV, ejection fraction (39 ± 14%) were recruited from outpatient HF clinics in the Midwest and South. Patients provided detailed 4-day food diaries that were reviewed by a registered dietitian to verify serving sizes and preparation methods and to obtain missing information. Patients were also asked to rate their appetite over the 4 days of diet recording on a 10 mm visual analog with anchors of “no appetite” and “extremely good appetite” Diaries were analyzed by Nutrition Data Systems software. Three series of between-group comparisons of kcal and protein (total and referenced to kg body weight) were made by t-tests using 4 mm (below midpoint), 5 mm (mid-point), and 6 mm (above mid-point) cut-points.
Results: Significant differences in kcal and protein intake were identified between groups using the 6 mm cut point. A total of 36% of the patients had low appetite ratings (<6mm). Patients with low appetite ratings consumed 20% fewer total kcals (1555 vs. 1936 kcal, p = .001) and 23% fewer kcal/kg (18 vs. 22 kcal, p = .005) than those with high ratings. The low appetite group also consumed 24% less protein than the high appetite group (62 g vs. 82 g, p = .001). The .71 g/kg protein intake of the low appetite group was below the recommended .8 g/kg protein intake for adults. In contrast, the .91 g/kg protein intake of the high appetite group was above the recommended level.
Conclusion: Patients with lower appetite ratings had kcal and protein intakes below recommended levels while those with high appetite ratings had adequate intake. These results provide evidence that rating appetite on a visual analog scale may be a simple tool that could be used clinically to identify patients with HF at risk for malnutrition.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, AHA Great Rivers Affiliate (Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania & West Virginia).