Care of Patients with Cardiovascular Disorders| Volume 41, ISSUE 3, P244-254, May 2012

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Factors associated with delayed care-seeking in hospitalized patients with heart failure

Published:November 04, 2011DOI:



      This study sought to evaluate the contributions of symptom recognition and clinical factors to delays in care-seeking.


      A descriptive correlational study design was used to study 75 patients (mean age, 74.7 years; SD, 10.86 years; range, 40 to 96 years) admitted to a tertiary-care medical center with recurrent symptoms (New York Heart Association classes 2 to 4). The sample was 52% male and 85.3% white. The Heart Failure Somatic Perception Scale (HFSPS) was used to examine symptoms, and additional data were collected on physiologic, social, and demographic factors.


      The mean HFSPS score was 37.52 (range, 2 to 74; possible range, 0 to 90). Subjects reported 2 to 16 out of 18 possible symptoms. Durations of individual symptoms ranged from 5 minutes to 8 years, with individual patients describing a variety of symptom combinations and multiple time frames, depending on the specific symptom. Most subjects (80%) reported a mixture of acute and chronic symptoms. A pattern of chronic vs. acute symptoms was associated with proactive vs. emergent care-seeking, respectively. The HFSPS scores did not correlate with care-seeking behavior.


      Symptom recognition is a complex phenomenon, and few factors differentiate emergent from proactive care-seeking.


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