Patients with chronic hepatitis C undergoing watchful waiting: Exploring trajectories of illness uncertainty and fatigue


  • This work would not have been possible without the contributions of Janet Jezsik, PA, Elizabeth Goacher, PA (Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina), Elizabeth Flint, PhD (Duke University, School of Nursing, Durham, North Carolina), who helped with recruitment and manuscript preparation.


We identified trajectories of illness uncertainty in chronic hepatitis C patients and examined their association with fatigue levels during 12 months of disease monitoring without treatment (watchful waiting). Sixty-two men and 63 women completed uncertainty and fatigue measures. Groups were formed by uncertainty scores (high, medium, and low) at baseline. Baseline fatigue levels were higher in the high uncertainty group than in the medium and low groups. Over time, uncertainty levels did not change. Fatigue levels in the low uncertainty group remained constant, increased in the medium, and decreased in the high groups. Findings suggest that uncertainty and fatigue do not remit spontaneously. Being aware of this may help nurses identify those patients needing support for these two concerns. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 33:465–473, 2010