• heart failure;
  • symptoms;
  • self-care


Patients with heart failure (HF) report multiple symptoms. Change in symptoms is an indicator of HF decompensation. Patients have difficulty differentiating HF symptoms from comorbid illness or aging. The study purpose was to identify the number, type, and combination of symptoms in hospitalized HF patients and test relationships with comorbid illness and age. A secondary analysis from a HF registry (N = 687) was conducted. The sample was 51.7% female, mean age 71 ± 12.5 years. The theory of unpleasant symptoms informed the study regarding the multidimensional nature of symptoms. Factor analysis of nine items from the Minnesota Living with HF Questionnaire resulted in three factors, acute and chronic volume overload and emotional distress. Clusters occurred more frequently in older patients, but caused less impact. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 32:551–560, 2009