Knowledge, barriers and attitudes toward dietary sodium in patients with decompensated heart failure

Sofia L.S. Barilli, Karina S.M. d’Almeida, Melina M. Trojahn, Gabriela C. Souza, Graziella B. Aliti, Eneida R. Rabelo-Silva


Background and objective: Nonadherence to sodium restriction is one of the main precipitating factors of heart failure (HF) decompensation. The three-subscale Dietary Sodium Restriction Questionnaire (DSRQ) enables evaluation of factors that can interfere with adherence. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge, barriers, and attitudes of patients with decompensated HF toward dietary sodium, by comparing those hospitalized for decompensation due to dietary nonadherence (alone or with medication nonadherence) versus those admitted for decompensation due to other causes.

Methods: Cross-sectional study carried out at the emergency departments of two public hospitals in Southern Brazil between 2013 and 2014. The sample included patients admitted for decompensated HF. Patients were divided into two groups: decompensation due to nonadherence to diet (alone or with medication nonadherence) and other causes.

Results: A total of 225 patients were included (mean age 66 ± 12 years). Patients exhibited a high degree of knowledge about sodium restriction (up to 50\% achieved 40 of 45 points). The opinions of family and health professionals influenced adherence. The main barriers to adherence concerned palatability and dietary preferences. When compared to patients admitted for other causes, those decompensated due to nonadherence had lower ejection fraction (p = .004) and higher Perceived Behavioral Control subscale scores (p = .009).

Conclusions: Patients have a high level of knowledge about sodium restriction. The opinion of significant others affects adherence. Nonadherent patients appeared to be more severely ill and endorsed a greater number of barriers that prevent adequate behavior. Some factors-particularly the taste of foods and patients’ dietary preferences – may justify the high prevalence of nonadherence.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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