Risk Factors and Outcomes of Protein-Calorie Malnutrition in Chronic Heart Failure Patients Undergoing Elective Cardiac Surgery

Cureus. 2022 Oct 17;14(10):e30378. doi: 10.7759/cureus.30378. eCollection 2022 Oct.


Introduction: Chronic heart failure (CHF) patients are often malnourished. Our aim was to determine the effect of protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM) on in-hospital outcomes in CHF patients following elective cardiac surgery and to identify risk factors for PCM in this patient population.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was conducted from 2016 to 2018. In-hospital outcomes in adult patients with CHF undergoing elective coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) with cardiopulmonary bypass-assist or cardiac valve replacement surgeries were analyzed. Propensity-score matching was used to match CHF patients with and without PCM and followed by logistic regression analysis. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify the risk factors associated with PCM in this population.

Results: In total 25,940 CHF patients were identified, of which 6,271 underwent elective CABG and 19,669 underwent valve replacement surgeries. The prevalence of PCM in CHF patients undergoing CABG and valve replacement was 3.9% and 2.9%, respectively. CHF patients with PCM had significantly higher risk of in-hospital mortality, post-operative cardiac and gastrointestinal complications compared to CHF patients without PCM. The mean hospital length of stay was twice as high in the PCM group (mean days: 18.6 vs 9.9). Female gender, Black race (vs White race), a high Charlson Comorbidity Index, Medicare/Medicaid insurance status (vs private insurance), and CHF (systolic and combined systolic and diastolic) were independently associated with significantly higher risk of PCM diagnosis.

Conclusions: CHF patients with PCM who undergo elective CABG or valve replacement surgeries are at a significantly higher risk of mortality, post-operative cardiac and gastrointestinal complications, and increased duration of hospital stay compared to those without PCM. Future prospective studies should assess the CHF patients who are at a higher risk of PCM and whether correcting pre-operative nutrition in this surgical population can improve outcomes following cardiac surgery.

Keywords: adults; chronic heart failure; coronary artery bypass graft; protein-calorie malnutrition; valve replacement surgery.