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Quality of life in patients with heart failure: Ask the patients

Published:September 22, 2008DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrtlng.2008.04.002

      Background

      Heart failure (HF) is a progressive clinical condition that results in substantial impairment of quality of life (QOL). Helping patients maintain optimal QOL is essential. QOL reflects patients' subjective perceptions about the impact of a clinical condition and its treatment on daily life; however, definitions in the literature vary widely and few reflect the patient's perspective.

      Purpose

      The study explored how patients with HF define and perceive QOL.

      Methods

      Qualitative data were obtained from 14 men and 6 women with HF (mean age 58 ± 10 years) using semistructured open-ended interviews. The interviews were analyzed using content analysis.

      Results

      Patients with HF defined QOL as their ability to 1) perform desired physical and social activities to meet their and their family's needs; 2) maintain happiness; and 3) engage in fulfilling relationships with others. Patients perceived a variety of factors as positively or negatively affecting QOL: physical (symptoms and good or poor physical status), psychologic (mood and positive or negative perspective), economic (financial status), social (social support and ability for social activities), spiritual, and behavioral (self-care). Patients perceived that HF had a serious impact on QOL, but most evaluated their QOL as good nonetheless.

      Conclusion

      Patients' definition of QOL reflected not only the impact of HF on their daily life but also their active pursuit of happiness. Patients' self-evaluation of QOL reflected the negative impact of HF and patients' altered expectations of what constituted good QOL.
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