We investigated the associations of adherence to the Mediterranean diet with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in patients with heart failure. We analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants from 1999 to 2010, with their vital status confirmed through to the end of 2011. The alternate Mediterranean Diet Index (aMED) was used to assess study participants' adherence to the Mediterranean diet according to information on dietary questionnaires. We conducted weighted Cox proportional hazards regression models to determine the associations of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (aMED ≥ median vs. <median) with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in participants with a history of heart failure. A total of 832 participants were analyzed, and the median aMED was 3. After a median follow-up of 4.7 years, 319 participants had died. aMED ≥ 3 (vs. <3) was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause (adjusted HR 0.797, 95% CI 0.599-1.059, p = 0.116) and cardiovascular (adjusted HR 0.911, 95% CI 0.539-1.538, p = 0.724) mortality. The findings were consistent across several subgroup populations. Among the components of aMED, a lower intake of red/processed meat was associated with a higher risk of mortality (adjusted HR 1.406, 95% CI 1.011-1.955, p = 0.043). We concluded that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in participants with a history of heart failure. The higher risk of mortality associated with a lower intake of red/processed meat deserves further investigation.
Keywords: Mediterranean diet; NHANES; aMED; heart failure; mortality.