Decreased Nutritional Risk Index is associated with mortality after heart transplantation

Aravind Krishnan, Benjamin Bigelow, Steven Hsu, Nisha A. Gilotra, Kavita Sharma, Chun Woo Choi, Ahmet Kilic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Validated scoring tools, such as the Nutritional Risk Index (NRI), can aid clinicians in quantifying the degree of malnourishment in patients prior to an operation. We evaluated the association between NRI and outcomes after heart transplantation. Methods: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database was used to identify adult patients (age > 18) undergoing heart transplantation between 1987 and 2016. NRI was calculated and categorized into previously established groupings representing severity of malnutrition. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards modeling were used to assess the primary outcome of all-cause mortality. Results: A total of 25,236 patients were included in the analysis. Most patients (75.4%) were male. Malnourishment was absent (NRI ≥ 100) in 11,022 (44%) patients, while 2,898 (12%) were mildly malnourished (97.5 ≤ NRI < 100), 8,685 (34%) were moderately malnourished (83.5 ≤ NRI < 97.5), and 2,631 (10%) were severely malnourished (NRI < 83.5). Moderate-to-severe malnutrition was associated with increased mortality (HR = 1.18, p <.001, 95%CI: 1.13-1.24), and post-transplant renal failure requiring dialysis (OR: 1.13, p <.001, 95%CI: 1.03-1.23). Conclusion: Malnourishment determined by NRI is independently associated with mortality and post-transplant dialysis after heart transplant. This is the largest study of NRI in heart transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14253
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • United Network for Organ Sharing
  • biomarker
  • nutrition
  • registry / registry analysis
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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