Description of self-reported fluid intake and its effects on body weight, symptoms, quality of life and physical capacity in patients with stable chronic heart failure.

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AIM: To describe the self-reported fluid intake and its effects on body weight, signs and symptoms of heart failure, quality of life, physical capacity and thirst, in patients with stabilised chronic heart failure. BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic heart failure are often recommended a fluid restriction of 1.5 l/day but there is no evidence in the literature for this recommendation and little is known about the fluid intake consequences. DESIGN: Crossover study. METHODS: Chronic heart failure patients, clinically stabilised after an unstable state, were randomised to a 32-week cross-over study assessing the clinical importance of fluid prescription. In a secondary analysis of 63 patients, efficacy variables were analysed in relation to the self-reported median fluid intake of 19 ml/kg body weight/day. RESULTS: The mean fluid intake was 16 ml/kg/day in the below-median group and 24 ml/kg/day in the above-median group. No between-group differences were found in change in body weight, signs and symptoms, diuretic use, quality of life or physical capacity. However, the above-median group significantly decreased sense of thirst and difficulties to adhere to the fluid prescription compared with the below-median group. CONCLUSION: In clinically stabilised chronic heart failure patients on optimal pharmacological treatment, a larger fluid intake was associated with decreasing thirst without any measurable negative effects on signs and symptoms of heart failure, diuretic use or physical capacity. Thus, a more liberal fluid intake may be advisable in chronic heart failure patients who have been stabilised after an initial unstable clinical state. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Nurses involved in the care for patients with heart failure known how troublesome thirst can be and how difficult it can be to follow a restricted fluid intake. This study indicates that it is possible to reassess and recommend a less strict fluid intake in stabilised patients with chronic heart failure.


  • Marie Holst
  • Anna Strömberg
  • Maud Lindholm
  • Ronnie Willenheimer
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2318-2326
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch