Prognostic significance of serum cholinesterase in patients with acute decompensated heart failure: a prospective comparative study with other nutritional indices

Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Aug 1;110(2):330-339. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz103.


Background: Nutritional status is associated with poor outcomes in patients with heart failure. Serum cholinesterase (CHE) concentration, a marker of malnutrition, was reported to be a prognostic factor in patients with chronic heart failure. The geriatric nutritional risk index (GNRI), the controlling nutritional status (CONUT) score, and the prognostic nutritional index (PNI) are established objective nutritional indices.

Objective: The aim of this study was to clarify the prognostic significance of CHE concentration and to compare it with other well-established objective nutritional indices in patients with acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF).

Methods: We prospectively enrolled 371 consecutive patients admitted for ADHF with survival discharge. Laboratory data including CHE and the objective nutritional indices were obtained at discharge. The primary endpoint of this study was all-cause mortality.

Results: During a mean ± SD follow-up period of 2.5 ± 1.4 y, 112 patients died. CHE concentration was significantly associated with all-cause mortality independently of GNRI, CONUT score, or PNI, after adjustment for major confounders including other nutritional indices, such as age, sex, systolic blood pressure, BMI, left ventricular ejection fraction, history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, prior heart failure hospitalization, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker use, β-blocker use, statin use, hemoglobin, sodium, blood urea nitrogen, albumin, C-reactive protein, and brain natriuretic peptide concentrations via multivariable Cox analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the risk of all-cause mortality significantly increased in accordance with CHE stratum [lowest tertile: 53%, adjusted HR: 6.92; 95% CI: 3.87, 12.36, compared with middle tertile: 28%, adjusted HR: 2.72; 95% CI: 1.45, 5.11, compared with highest tertile: 11%, adjusted HR: 1.0 (reference), P < 0.0001]. CHE showed the best area under the curve value (0.745) for the prediction of all-cause mortality compared with the other objective nutritional indices. Net reclassification improvement afforded by adding CHE to the fully adjusted multivariable model was statistically significant for all-cause mortality (0.330; 95% CI: 0.112, 0.549, P = 0.0030).

Conclusion: CHE is a simple, strong prognostic marker for the prediction of all-cause mortality in patients with ADHF.

Keywords: acute decompensated heart failure; cardiac cachexia; controlling nutritional status score; geriatric nutritional risk index; nutritional indices; prognostic nutritional index; serum cholinesterase.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cholinesterases / blood*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / blood*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Cholinesterases