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This study aimed to refine and extend the findings of an original study which focused on the description of fatigue associated with congestive heart failure. A descriptive approach based on Levine's Conservation Model provided both quantitative and qualitative data. Qualitative data addressed personal integrity and quantitative data measured energy conservation, structural and social integrity. Patients described fatigue as being tired and exhausted and containing both physical and emotional components. Fatigue occurred as a result of stress, physical activity and disease. Patient-identified interventions included rest, distraction, medicine, and physical and spiritual activities. Age, pH and oxygen saturation were significantly related to fatigue. The findings are examined using the concept of adaptation as defined by Levine. Implications for nursing are discussed within the framework of the Conservation Model with emphasis on a holistic approach to patient care.