Thirst in Patients With Heart Failure in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Japan

Martje H. L. van der Wal*, Nana Waldreus, Tiny Jaarsma, Naoko P. Kato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Thirst is a distressing symptom and influences quality of life of patients with heart failure (HF). Knowledge about thirst in HF is insufficient; therefore, the aim of this study was to describe factors related to thirst, self-reported reasons for thirst, and interventions to relieve thirst in 3 different countries. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Japan. Patients were recruited at the HF clinic or during HF hospitalization. Thirst was assessed by a visual analog scale (0-100); reasons for thirst and interventions to relieve thirst were assessed by an open-ended questionnaire. Patients were divided into low and high thirst based on the first and third tertiles of the visual analog scale. Results: Two hundred sixty-nine patients participated in the study (age, 72 +/- 12 years). Mean thirst intensity was 24 +/- 24, with a mean thirst of 53 +/- 15 in the highest tertile. No significant differences in thirst among the 3 countries were found. Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that a higher dose of loop diuretics (odds ratio, 3.47; 95% confidence interval, 1.49-8.06) and fluid restriction (odds ratio, 2.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-4.32) were related to thirst. The most reported reasons for thirst were salty/spicy food (20%) and low fluid intake (18%). Most of the patients (56%) drank more in case of thirst; 20% only drank a little bit, probably related to a fluid restriction. Conclusions: Thirst in patients with HF was related to a higher dose of loop diuretics and fluid restriction. Healthcare providers should realize that it is important to assess thirst regularly and reconsider the need of a fluid restriction and the amount of loop diuretics in case of thirst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • cardiovascular nursing
  • fluid restriction
  • heart failure
  • thirst

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