Decreased appetite can contribute to malnutrition in patients with heart failure (HF). Little is known about the trajectory of appetite over time in patients with HF and the factors associated with decreased appetite after discharge from the hospital.
The aims of this study were to investigate changes in appetite over time and explore how fatigue, depressive symptoms, and quality of life are associated with decreased appetite.
Data from the multicenter randomized Coordinating study evaluating Outcomes of Advising and Counseling in Heart Failure were used. Logistic regression and mixed-effects logistic regression were used to investigate changes in appetite over time and to explore the relationship between appetite and fatigue, depressive symptoms, and quality of life.
A total of 734 patients with HF (mean age, 69 years) were included. Decreased appetite was present at all follow-up measurements; however, decreased appetite was significantly lower at the 1-month (odds ratio [OR], 0.43; confidence interval [CI], 0.29–0.63), 6-month (OR, 0.31; CI, 0.20–0.47), 12-month (OR, 0.22; CI, 0.14–0.34), and 18-month (OR, 0.24; CI, 0.15–0.37) follow-ups compared with baseline. Decreased appetite was associated with fatigue (OR, 3.09; CI, 1.98–4.84), depressive symptoms (OR, 1.76; CI, 1.35–2.29), and low quality of life (OR, 1.01; CI, 1.01–1.02) across all measurement points adjusted for covariates.
Appetite improved after discharge; however, at all time points, at least 22% of patients reported decreased appetite. Fatigue, depressive symptoms, and low quality of life are factors associated with decreased appetite. Decreased appetite is a long-standing problem in that it does not disappear spontaneously after an acute HF deterioration.