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Background,br> Early heart failure (HF) symptoms are frequently unrecognized for reasons that are unclear. We explored symptom perception in patients with chronic HF.
We enrolled 36 HF out-patients into a longitudinal sequential explanatory mixed methods study. We used objectively measured thoracic fluid accumulation and daily reports of signs and symptoms to evaluate accuracy of detected changes in fluid retention. Patterns of symptom interpretation and response were explored in telephone interviews conducted every 2 weeks for 3-months.
In this sample, 44% had a mismatch between objective and subjective fluid retention; younger persons were more likely to have mismatch. In interviews, two patterns were identified: those able to interpret and respond appropriately to symptoms were higher in decision-making skill and the quality of social support received.
Many HF patients were poor at interpreting and managing their symptoms. These results suggest a subgroup of patients to target for intervention.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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