Risk Factors Associated With Peripheral Neuropathy in Heart Failure Patients Candidates for Transplantation

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Abstract

Introduction:

Peripheral neuropathy can affect patients with heart failure, though its prevalence is unknown. After heart transplantation, it can influence the postoperative course and quality of life, but screening for neuromuscular disease is not routinely performed.

Objective:

The aim of this study was to identify the factors associated with neuropathy in a population of patients with heart failure who are candidates for heart transplantation.

Study Design:

Data regarding patients’ clinical history, including recent hospitalizations, were collected. All patients underwent a complete neurological examination and a neurophysiological protocol including nerve conduction studies and concentric needle electromyography.

Results:

Thirty-two patients were included in the study, and neuropathy was diagnosed in 10 (31.3%). Neuropathy was associated with the number of admissions (P = .023; odds ratio [OR]: 1.96) and the total number of days of hospitalization in the year prior to inclusion in the study (P = .010; OR: 1.03). The majority of hospitalizations occurred in the step-down unit (85%), with acute heart failure the leading cause of admission (42%).

Conclusions:

This study shows that neuropathy is frequent in patients with advanced heart failure and that hospitalization for cardiac care, also in the absence of intensive care, is a marker of high risk of neurologic damage. These data can help physicians in selecting and managing candidates for transplantation and can guide decisions on the best immunosuppressive regimen or rehabilitation strategy.

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