Factors related to nonadherence to low sodium diet recommendations in heart failure patients

Brooke Bentley, Marla J. De Jong, Debra K. Moser, Ann R. Peden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Background: A low sodium diet is a cornerstone of nonpharmacologic therapy for heart failure patients. Although nonadherence is common, little is known about why heart failure patients fail to adhere to this diet. Aims: The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of heart failure patients in following a low sodium diet. Methods and results: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study with a convenience sample of 20 participants. Interviews were conducted and analyzed for themes. The data reflected three primary themes about nonadherence to the low sodium diet: lack of knowledge, interference with socialization, and lack of food selections. Participants expressed a need for details about low sodium food selection, food preparation, and rationale for the diet. Lack of knowledge also was manifested as diet confusion for participants who required additional dietary restrictions. Interference with socialization was manifested by patients' experiences with family conflict when family members ate high-sodium foods and difficulty eating out. The theme of lack of low sodium food selections was reflected by comments about limited food choices, and lack of palatability. Conclusion: Researchers and clinicians need to consider patients' perceptions as they generate and evaluate interventions to increase adherence to a low sodium diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-336
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adherence
  • Dietary sodium
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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