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Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 1997 Fall;12(4):4-11.

Psychosocial variables and hospitalization in persons with chronic heart failure.

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  • 1Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


Persons with chronic heart failure (HF) must cope not only with the physical impairment of their disease but with the associated emotional distress. The primary purpose of this prospective study was to examine whether the psychosocial variables of symptom impact measured at baseline--health perception, social support and coping--differed between a group of adults with chronic HF who were hospitalized and a group who were not hospitalized during the following six months of the study. A secondary purpose was to examine indices of left ventricular dysfunction that might influence hospitalization. Within the six-month period following baseline data collection, 23 of 62 (37%) patients who completed the study were hospitalized at least once for problems pertaining to HF. Patients in the hospitalized group reported significantly more baseline symptom impact, particularly in the areas of emotional symptoms and deficits of attention and memory. Social support and coping did not differ significantly between hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients. Extent of myocardial dysfunction, age and demographic variables were not significantly different between the two groups. Heart failure decompensation requiring inpatient management was presaged by increased anxiety and disorders of mentation, suggesting that health care providers need to be sensitive to these reported symptoms and their impact, because they might be clues to impending hospitalization.

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