Thiamin status, diuretic medications, and the management of congestive heart failure

J Am Diet Assoc. 1995 May;95(5):541-4. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(95)00148-4.


Objective: To assess the prevalence of thiamin deficiency in patients with congestive heart failure who are treated with diuretics that inhibit sodium and chloride reabsorption in the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle (loop diuretic therapy).

Design: A cross-sectional investigation of thiamin status of consecutive patients with congestive heart failure being treated with loop diuretic therapy.

Setting: Cardiology clinic of a midwestern tertiary-care medical center.

Subjects: Thirty-eight patients were recruited (mean age +/- standard deviation = 55 +/- 14 years). Validation of methodology was conducted with nine age-matched control subjects.

Main outcome measures: Thiamin status was assessed biochemically by in vitro erythrocyte transketolase activity assay. Assessment of dietary intake of thiamin was accomplished with a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire.

Statistical analyses performed: Fisher's exact test and logistic regression were used to evaluate relationships between thiamin status and variables of interest.

Results: Biochemical evidence of thiamin deficiency was found in 8 of 38 (21%) patients. Evidence of risk for dietary thiamin inadequacy was found in 10 of 38 patients (25%). Seven of the 8 patients with biochemical evidence of thiamin deficiency met study criteria for dietary adequacy, although quantified data suggested that only 4 of the patients achieved two thirds of the Recommended Dietary Allowance. Biochemical evidence of thiamin deficiency tended to be more common among patients with poor left ventricular ejection fractions (P = .07).

Conclusions: Thiamin deficiency may occur in a substantial proportion of patients with congestive heart failure, and dietary inadequacy may contribute to increased risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bumetanide / adverse effects
  • Bumetanide / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Furosemide / adverse effects
  • Furosemide / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Thiamine / administration & dosage
  • Thiamine Deficiency / chemically induced
  • Thiamine Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Thiamine Deficiency / etiology
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Bumetanide
  • Furosemide
  • Thiamine