Fatigue and self-care in patients with chronic heart failure

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Abstract

Background:
Fatigue is a debilitating and highly prevalent symptom in patients with chronic heart failure (HF) possibly complicating HF self-care behaviour which is crucial for maintaining health.
Aims:
The purpose of this study was to examine whether general and exertion fatigue are distinctively associated with self-care in patients with chronic HF.
Methods:
In total, 545 outpatients with chronic HF (mean age=66.2 years; 75% male) completed measures of general fatigue (i.e. a sustained sense of exhaustion including mental efforts), exertion fatigue (i.e. fatigue directly related to physical activity), sleep problems, mood symptoms and HF self-care behaviour at baseline, 12-, and 18-month follow-up.
Results:
Linear mixed modelling results showed that general and exertion fatigue were significantly associated with poor HF self-care (estimate=0.10, p=0.004; estimate=0.06, p=0.01, respectively) and poor consulting behaviour (estimate=0.05, p=0.04; estimate=0.04, p=0.007, respectively) over time, independent of sleep and mood problems, and other clinical covariates. Exertion fatigue was associated with supplementary determinants.
Conclusion:
This is the first prospective study demonstrating that general and exertion fatigue were both associated with poor HF self-care, which could not be explained by sleep problems or mood symptoms, and was independent of clinical indicators of disease severity. Treatment of fatigue problems may improve HF self-care skills and ultimately quality of life and cardiovascular outcomes. Further research is needed to examine this potential causal relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-344
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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