Nutritional status is associated with physical function and disability in older adults with chronic heart failure

Published:December 21, 2019DOI:


      • HF patients in the MNA "at risk" category have higher risk of worse functional status.
      • Older HF patients in the MNA "at risk" category have higher risk of disability.
      • These associations are independent of muscular mass and caloric intake.



      The association between nutritional status (NS) and physical performance and disability in older adults with chronic heart failure (CHF) is not well established. We aimed at evaluating whether NS, estimated using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), is associated with gait speed (GS) and disability (ADL/IADL impairment) in this population and to assess whether energy intake (EI) and appendicular skeletal muscle mass index (ASMMI) influence this relationship.


      In this cross-sectional study we enrolled 88 older adults admitted to a cardiology outpatient clinic for CHF. MNA was analyzed both as continuous and categorical variable (risk of malnutrition [RM]/well-nourished [WN]). The association between NS and GS and disability was assessed using linear and logistic regression models, respectively, crude, adjusted firstly for age, sex, ejection fraction, and mood status, and then for EI and ASMMI.


      Mean age was 77.8 years, 73% were men. MNA score was positively associated with GS: β adjusted = 0.022, P = 0.035; the coefficient was unaffected by adjustment for EI and ASMMI (β = 0.022, P = 0.052). Compared to WN, RM participants had a lower gait speed (0.82 vs 0.99 m/s, P = 0.006); the difference was attenuated after adjustment for potential confounders (β − = 0.138, P = 0.055). MNA score was inversely associated with ADL impairment (Adjusted OR: 0.80, 95%CI 0.64–0.98), but not with IADL impairment (Adjusted OR: 0.94, 95%CI 0.78–1.13).


      Reduced MNA score is associated with poorer physical function and ADL impairment in older adults affected by CHF, independently of EI and ASMMI. Routinely evaluation of NS should be performed in this population.


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