Background: Patients with heart failure (HF) can suffer from increased thirst intensity and distress. Trajectories of thirst intensity and distress from hospital to home are unclear. The aim of this study was to describe thirst intensity and distress trajectories in patients from the time of hospital admission to 4 weeks after discharge, and describe trajectories of thirst intensity and distress by patients’ characteristics (gender, age, body mass index [BMI], plasma urea, anxiety, and depression).

Patients and methods: In this observational study, data were collected from patients with HF (n=30) at hospital admission, discharge, and at 2 and 4 weeks after discharge. Thirst intensity (visual analog scale, 100 mm) and distress (Thirst Distress Scale-HF, score 9–45) were used. Trajectories were examined using growth modeling.

Results: Trajectory of the thirst intensity was significantly different, for patients with low and high thirst intensity levels (median cut-off 39 mm), from admission to 4 weeks follow up (thirst increased and decreased, respectively). Patients with high level of thirst distress (median score > 22) at admission, having fluid restriction and women continued to have higher thirst distress over time. Patients feeling depressed had higher thirst intensity over time. There were no differences in the trajectories of thirst intensity and distress by age, BMI, plasma urea, and anxiety.

Conclusion: Intensity and distress of thirst, having fluid restriction, and feeling depressed at the admission were critical in predicting the trajectory of thirst intensity and distress after discharge to home in patients with HF. Effective intervention relieving thirst should be provided before their discharge to home.

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Published in Patient Preference and Adherence, v. 12, p. 2223-2231.

© 2018 Waldréus et al.

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