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Weight Gain Predicts Heart Failure Hospitalization

Gains as low as two pounds significant warning sign for those with heart disease

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Weight gains of as little as two pounds are associated with a greater risk of hospitalization in patients with heart failure, according to a study published online Sept. 10 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Sarwat I. Chaudhry, M.D., of Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a study of 134 patients with heart failure and 134 control patients without heart failure who monitored their weight on a daily basis.

Approximately 30 days before hospitalization, heart failure patients began to gradually gain weight, and weight gain patterns between the two groups significantly diverged a week before hospitalization. Mean increases of two to five pounds, five to 10 pounds, and more than 10 pounds resulted in odds ratios for heart failure hospitalization of 2.34, 3.69 and 4.98, respectively.

Gains as small as just over two pounds predicted hospitalization. The fact that the gain begins well before hospitalization gives doctors and patients a window of opportunity to avoid hospitalization, according to Chaudhry.

"Heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalization among Americans, and more Medicare dollars are spent for heart failure than for any other diagnosis," Chaudhry said in a statement. "Our data suggest that a simple bathroom scale could empower patients in managing their own disease and alert their physicians to early signs of heart failure decompensation."

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