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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2006 Sep;32(3):208-16.

Prevalence of symptoms in a community-based sample of heart failure patients.

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  • 1Sheffield Institute for Studies on Ageing, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.


This study explored the prevalence and burden of symptoms in a community-based sample of patients aged >60 with symptomatic heart failure. Five hundred forty-two patients were recruited from UK general practices. Participants completed the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire every 3 months for 2 years. Data are presented at baseline alongside findings from in-depth interviews with patients and focus groups with primary care professionals. Over half the participants experienced breathlessness and/or fatigue daily. Factors identified as predictive of symptom prevalence and burden were as follows: being female; being staged at New York Heart Association Class III or IV; having symptoms of depression; and having two or more comorbidities. Interviews identified other symptoms, including chest pain, nausea, sleep disruption, and confusion. Participants felt that symptoms restricted activities of daily living. Health professionals reported symptom control as being a concern of patients and identified their own educational needs in this area. Findings suggest that symptom prevalence and burden for this population is high. Primary care professionals should offer comprehensive assessment and treatment of symptoms.

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