Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

What is the role of diet and nutrition in treatment, management and prevention of Heart Failure?

Heart Failure (HF) remains a major public health burden. A working group was convened by NHLBI and ODS in June, 2013 to address the role of diet and nutrition in management of HF. A review of existing evidence produced no clear rationale for appropriate dietary interventions. On the contrary, the group developed recommendations for conducting additional research specifically on the role of sodium, fluid, nutrients, and catabolism in the natural history of HF and the potential risk/benefits of nutritional interventions, whether through food or supplements, to improve clinical and quality-of-life outcomes.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)?: Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC:

As summarized following the Working Group meeting,compared with the situation for cardiovascular risk factor management, there is little well-founded evidence regarding the efficacy, safety, and clinical impact of dietary modifications for patients with various HF phenotypes. The importance of diet and nutrition to promote health and prevent or control disease is well established. Research on obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular disease have contributed to the development of nutritional guidelines to prevent these disease in the general population but efforts to determine nutritional needs for the patient with HF lack high caliber evidence regarding safety, efficacy, and clinical impact of dietary modifications. The stronger evidence and focus on disease prevention and health promotion with diet modifications like DASH cannot be easily applied or extrapolated for disease management, especially HF, because of critical knowledge gaps and potential harm. Research on HF has more recently identified and differentiated medical treatment and interventions appropriate for HF with or without preserved ejection fractions. This only adds to the questions surrounding diet and nutritional approaches to help reduce and prevent HF readmissions.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC:

Chronic HF often presents as a multisystem disease with important co-morbidities such as anemia, insulin resistance or diabetes, autonomic dysregulation, and impaired renal function. Intestinal dysfunction with impaired motility and circulation and disturbed intestinal barrier and flora may lead to a chronic inflammatory state and nutrient malabsorption. In advanced cases, catabolic/anabolic imbalance is associated with cardiac cachexia, a difficult to treat condition which itself carries a poor prognosis. Furthermore, psychosocial symptoms associated with HF, including depression and impaired cognition, can contribute to poor self-care and lack of adherence to recommended dietary, physical activity, and medication regimens. Nutritional status concerns for patients with HF increase with disease severity. Salt restriction is now controversial and clinicians give little attention to diet as a potential intervention to improve outcomes. Proposed recommendations:

1.Determine the correct sodium threshold; ranges of sodium and fluid intake, and the safety for sub-groups including HFPEF, HFREF, and cardiorenal syndrome. 2.Generate new knowledge which identifies therapeutic targets and understand the role of the gut microbiome on gastrointestinal malabsorption, inflammation, and protein balance in HF.

3.Apply innovative study designs to reduce evidence gaps 4.Develop technologies to facilitate nutrition research and address weight and multiple risk factors should be addressed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea: Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD


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Idea No. 1050