Symptom perception management education improves self-care in patients with heart failure

Joana Pereira Sousa*, Cláudia Oliveira, Miguel Pais-Vieira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Patients with heart failure often have difficulty recognizing signs and symptoms of the disease, which delays seeking help, and therefore interferes with patient engagement and self-care management. Early detection of these symptoms could lead to care-seeking and avoid hospitalizations. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to design a complex intervention through a systematic literature review and qualitative study. METHODS: Our design followed the Medical Research Council's recommendations. To design a complex intervention, we combined a systematic literature review on education, symptom recognition, and self-care management in patients with heart failure, and semi-structured interviews with cardiology healthcare providers and patients with heart failure admitted to a cardiology ward. RESULTS: The systematic literature review identified 582 studies published between 2005 and 2014, of which four were included in the final review. These suggested that patient education focused on symptom recognition, combined with reinforcements, led to better self-care behaviors. Additionally, content analysis of semi-structured interviews revealed three themes: health management, behavior management, and support received. CONCLUSIONS: Combining the findings of the literature review and the themes that emerged from the semi-structured interviews, we proposed the development and implementation of a complex intervention on symptom perception and fluid management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-473
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Complex intervention
  • Heart failure
  • Self-management
  • Symptom recognition


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