Symptoms and strategies in heart failure self-management in Turkey [corrected]

S Oguz, N Enç
International Nursing Review 2008, 55 (4): 462-7

BACKGROUND: Patients with heart failure can live longer and achieve a better quality of life by learning about the symptoms and management of the disease and about associated changes required in the lifestyle and by controlling symptoms.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to determine the symptoms experienced by patients with heart failure and to identify the strategies they use in the management of the disease.

METHODS: The study was carried out with 64 (53.3%) of patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure [functional class (II-III)] who had been admitted to the cardiology polyclinic. The patients had to be literate and conscious, and had to voluntarily accept to participate in the study. Data were gathered by a questionnaire. The patients were interviewed face to face with the researcher in the polyclinic. Data were evaluated by percentage values, averages and chi-square.

RESULTS: Symptoms identified in the subjects were fatigue in 67.2%, dyspnoea in 60.9% and palpitation in 59.4% of respondents. A statistically significant difference was noted between men and women in the case of fatigue (P = 0.039), with this symptom having a stronger restricting effect on the daily activities of men compared with women. A significant difference between men and women was also observed for the management of dyspnoea (P = 0.004), preferred approach for avoiding this symptom being resting for men, while using medication and oxygen for women.

CONCLUSION: Fatigue was found to be the most common symptom experienced by the subjects, followed by dyspnoea, palpitation and oedema, respectively. A significant difference between men and women was noted in approaches for reducing symptoms.

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