Indexed on: 26 Oct '12Published on: 26 Oct '12Published in: Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006)
Heart failure is the leading cause of death and hospitalization in industrialized countries and a major cause of healthcare costs. It is associated with severe symptoms and its prognosis remains poor. Further improvement is needed beyond the results of pharmacological treatment and devices. The role of nutrition has therefore been studied both in the early stages of heart failure, as a tool for the reduction of cardiovascular risk factors and in symptomatic heart failure, for the prevention and treatment of congestion and fluid overload. In addition, dietary supplements, such as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and amino acids, may contribute to the improvement of prognosis and cardiac function, respectively. Finally, in advanced heart failure, nutrition may counteract the effects of muscle wasting and cardiac cachexia through an increase in caloric and protein intake and amino acid supplementation.