Thirst in heart failure: what do we know so far?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Thirst is a common and burdensome symptom of heart failure, which impacts adversely on quality of life. To date, there is limited research on the prevalence of thirst, the factors associated with thirst and interventions to help manage thirst in heart failure. This review summarizes key empirical research developments of thirst.

Recent findings

Recent research shows that the heart failure syndrome, medications, self-care practice such as fluid restriction and anxiety contributes greatly to increased thirst in patients with heart failure. In addition, predictors such as being younger, male patient, with high symptom burden and serum urea is also associated with thirst. There are no intervention studies to manage thirst, only reports of various strategies recommended to heart failure patients in clinical practice.

Summary

Despite the burden of thirst in heart failure patients, strategies to relieve thirst remains insufficiently addressed in literature. Further research to improve the understanding of the severity of thirst and its relationship to possible factors associated with thirst is required in order to develop future interventions to either prevent or alleviate troublesome thirst in patients with heart failure.

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