A mixed methods study of symptom perception in patients with chronic heart failure

Barbara Riegel, Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Christopher S. Lee, Marguerite Daus, Julia Hill, Elliane Irani, Solim Lee, Joyce W. Wald, Stephen T. Moelter, Lisa Rathman, Megan Streur, Foster Osei Baah, Linda Ruppert, Daniel R. Schwartz, Alfred Bove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early heart failure (HF) symptoms are frequently unrecognized for reasons that are unclear. We explored symptom perception in patients with chronic HF. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: Many HF patients were poor at interpreting and managing their symptoms. These results suggest a subgroup of patients to target for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalHeart and Lung
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Delay
  • Heart failure
  • Self-care
  • Symptom perception
  • decision-making
  • fluid retention
  • mixed methods
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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