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Volume 32, Nº 3, May and June 2019


DOI: http://www.dx.doi.org/10.5935/2359-4802.20180094


Adductor Pollicis Muscle Thickness as a Marker of Nutritional Status in Heart Failure

Fabiane da Silva Rosário

Denise Tavares Giannini

Viviane de Oliveira Leal

Ricardo Mourilhe-Rocha


Background: Malnutrition is associated with morbidity and mortality in patients with heart failure (HF). Thus, it is essential to apply reliable indicators to assess the nutritional status of these individuals.

Objective: To evaluate the thickness of the adductor pollicis muscle (APM) in patients with HF as an indicator of somatic protein status and correlate the obtained values with conventionally used parameters and electrical bioimpedance (EBI) markers.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with patients with HF undergoing regular outpatient treatment. APM thickness was measured in the dominant arm, and the values obtained were classified according to gender and age. The anthropometric parameters assessed included the body mass index (BMI) and specific parameters to assess the muscle (arm muscle circumference [AMC] and arm muscle area [AMA]). Values of phase angle (PA), standard PA (SPA), and lean mass were obtained by EBI. Statistical analyses were performed with the software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 19, using unpaired Student’s t, Mann-Whitney, or one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests for comparisons between groups, as appropriate. The correlation between variables of interest was performed using Pearson’s or Spearman’s correlation coefficient, as adequate. The level of significance was set at 5%.

Results: About 70% of the 74 patients evaluated were classified as malnourished according to the APM thickness. Values of AMC, AMA, and lean mass correlated positively with APM thickness (p < 0.005). The APM thickness also correlated positively with PA and SPA (r = 0.49, p < 0.001 and r = 0.31, p = 0.008, respectively).

Conclusion: Patients with HF presented a high frequency of protein malnutrition when APM thickness was used as an indicator of nutritional status. APM thickness values correlated with conventional measures of somatic protein evaluation and may be related to the prognosis of these patients, since they correlated positively with PA and SPA. (Int J Cardiovasc Sci. 2019;32(3)253-260)

Keywords: Heart Failure; Thumb; Malnutrition / mortality; Nutrition Assessment; Anthropometry.