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Weigh Gain May Spell Trouble for Heart Failure Patients
Date:9/11/2007

red statement. "We found that weight gain starts well before hospitalization, giving doctors and patients at least a few days to take steps to avoid the need for hospitalization."

People who gained an average of two to five pounds in the week before hospitalization were almost 3 times more likely to need hospitalization than heart failure patients with stable weight. Those who gained five to 10 pounds were 4.5 times more likely to need hospitalization, and those who gained over 10 pounds were almost eight times more likely to require hospitalization for heart failure.

"Heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalization among Americans, and more Medicare dollars are spent for heart failure than for any other diagnosis," Chaudhry said. "Our data suggest that a simple bathroom scale could empower patients in managing their own disease and alert their physicians to early signs of heart failure decompensation (the failure of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation). Ultimately, our data may help change the standard of care to prevent patients from being hospitalized, improve their quality of life and save precious health care resources."

The researchers noted that not all hospitalizations for heart failure occur after weight gain, but that monitoring weight daily can help patients with heart failure. The team is currently conducting a clinical trial to test whether daily weight measurement can help reduce rates of hospitalization for heart failure patients.

More information

To learn about living with heart failure, visit the American Heart Association.



-- Madeline Vann



SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Sept. 10, 2007


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