Purpose: To assess the diagnostic value of different BW thresholds and time intervals to alert for imminent HF decompensation.
Methods: We studied 184 patients with HF (age 71±10 yr, EF 26±11%). 43% had been hospitalized for HF during the preceding year. They were assessed by daily BW using digital scales with direct data transfer to a central data base. The mean follow-up was 286 days.
To decrease day-to-day variability, BW was analysed based on a daily moving average over 3 days. We retrospectively calculated the sensitivity and false-positive rate of BW thresholds at 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 kg and time intervals between 2 and 30 days. Threshold crossings occurring within 30 days prior to a hospitalization for decompensated HF were deemed a positive alert.
Results: The sensitivity of 2kg/3d was poor (13%). Prolonging the time interval of weight changes markedly improved sensitivity. Increasing the weight threshold decreased the false positive rate. Greatest sensitivity (60%) was achieved using a 14 day interval at a weight threshold of 1.5 kg. However, this was associated with a high rate of false alerts (3.1 per patient/year). A weight threshold of 3.5 kg resulted in excellent specificity (0.3 false alerts per patient/year), however sensitivity was low (20%, 20 day time interval).
Conclusion: Monitoring daily BW using a 2kg/3d algorithm is associated with poor diagnostic performance. Generally, by analyzing stable trends over time (moving average) and using prolonged time intervals, BW monitoring with digital scales can achieve a clinically meaningful diagnostic performance. This new approach to BW monitoring may improve early detection of imminent HF decompensation.