'Heart failure self care' refers to the practices in which patients engage to maintain their own health, and to the decisions that they make about managing signs or symptoms. In this article, we base our discussion of self care in chronic heart failure on the classification of patients as being 'expert', inconsistent', or 'novice' in heart failure self-care behaviors. The available literature on factors predicting heart failure self care and its outcomes are reviewed within this context. Factors known to influence heart failure self care include experience with the illness, physical functioning, depression and anxiety, social support, daytime sleepiness, and attitudes such as confidence. Further research is needed to understand the contributions of comorbidities, patient sex, and health disparities on heart failure self care. The evidence to support a link between heart failure self care and health outcomes is limited, but early evidence suggests that adequate self care is associated with an improvement in health status, a decrease in the number and duration of hospitalizations, and a decline in levels of biomarkers of stress and inflammation, and in intrathoracic impedance. Implications of heart failure self care for clinical practice, policy, and public health are also described.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine