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Hypothermia Predicts Mortality in Patients with Heart Failure

Patients with low body temp nearly four times as likely to die within two months

THURSDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Hypothermia is a strong predictor of mortality in patients who are admitted to the hospital for worsening heart failure, according to a report in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Mihai Gheorghiade, M.D., of Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed data from the Acute and Chronic Therapeutic Impact of a Vasopressin Antagonist in Congestive Heart Failure (ACTIV in CHF) trial to see if low body temperature predicts mortality in patients with heart failure as it does for other conditions.

About 10 percent of patients had hypothermia at randomization, defined as an oral body temperature of less than 35.8 degrees Celsius. After correcting for other factors, hypothermic patients were 3.9 times as likely to die within 60 days of discharge as non-hypothermic patients. Hypothermia was linked to indicators of low cardiac output including elevated blood urea nitrogen/creatinine ratio, narrow pulse pressure and a reduced ejection fraction.

"The simplicity and availability of temperature measurement in the clinic and at home make it an accessible marker that could provide valuable additional information for assessing prognosis in patients with heart failure," the authors write.

Some of the study authors may receive royalties from LifeSentry, Inc., a company that develops technologies for monitoring congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. Others have received compensation or support from Otsuka Maryland Research Institute.

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