Send to

Choose Destination
Am Heart J. 2005 Nov;150(5):983.

A simplified education program improves knowledge, self-care behavior, and disease severity in heart failure patients in rural settings.

Author information

University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



Self-monitoring by heart failure (HF) patients of worsening symptoms caused by fluid overload is a cornerstone of HF care. Disease management has improved outcomes in HF; however, these resource-intensive programs are limited to urban centers and are generally unavailable in rural or limited health care access areas. This pilot study sought to determine whether a simplified education program focused on a single component of disease management (symptom recognition and management of fluid weight) could improve knowledge, patient-reported self-care behavior, and HF severity in a rural setting.


This randomized clinical trial enrolled 36 rural HF patients into an intervention or control group. The intervention group received a simplified education program with a follow-up phone call focusing on symptom management delivered by a non-cardiac-trained nurse. Patient knowledge, self-care behaviors, and HF severity (B-natriuretic peptide [BNP]) were measured at enrollment and at 3 months.


The sample was primarily white men and married with a mean age of 71 years and ejection fraction of 47%. There were no differences between groups in knowledge, self-care behaviors and BNP at baseline; however, knowledge and self-care behavior related to daily weights improved significantly at 3 months in the intervention group (P = .01 and .03, respectively). Although the changes in mean BNP at 3 months were in the hypothesized direction, the difference between the 2 groups was not significant.


A simplified education program designed for use in resource scarce settings improves knowledge and patient-reported self-care behaviors. These findings are important in providing care to patients with HF in limited access settings but should be studied for longer periods in more heterogeneous populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center