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Nutr Clin Pract. 2008 Oct-Nov;23(5):487-93. doi: 10.1177/0884533608323430.

Characteristics of thiamin and its relevance to the management of heart failure.

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University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Heart failure (HF) is a major public health problem in the United States that puts a significant burden on both patients and the healthcare system. The prevalence of malnutrition in HF patients is well-known and correlates with a dramatic decline in quality of life and disease progression, and is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The implication of HF on micronutrient status is underrecognized in the quest to offer "best practice" medical, device, and surgical interventions to this population. The micronutrient thiamin is of particular interest in the management of HF for several reasons: (a) HF is a disease of the elderly whose micronutrient status is in need of attention; (b) HF patients tend to have inadequate nutrient intake, which has been associated with thiamin deficiency; (c) thiamin deficiency (wet beriberi) impairs cardiac performance and can mimic the signs and symptoms of HF thereby potentially exacerbating the underlying disease; (d) use of loop diuretics to manage fluid and sodium imbalances associated with HF may cause the hyperexcretion of thiamin, thereby increasing the risk of deficiency; and (e) the prevention of thiamin deficiency should be a routine component in the overall management of this disease.

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