Man måste vila emellanåt : patienters självskattade och berättade erfarenheter av att leva med kronisk hjärtsvikt

Sammanfattning: The overall purpose was to explore the experience of living with chronic heart failure among patients in primary healthcare. Comparisons were made between patients with confirmed heart failure (HF, n=49), patients with symptoms indicating HF but with no HF (NHF, n=59), and a reference group (n=40). The mean age was 77 years. Patients in the HF and NHF groups had more general and physical fatigue, more reduced activity, worse physical quality of life and higher degree of depression compared with the reference group. The HF group had also higher degree of physical fatigue and worse physical quality of life than the NHF group. When comparing degrees of depression between the three groups and adjusting for fatigue, the physical dimension of fatigue was of greater importance in explaining group differences. In the HF group general fatigue was more closely related to limitations in role functioning for physical reasons than to reduced physical function per se. Women experienced more fatigue than men. Narrative interviews were conducted with ten women with confirmed heart failure, aged 73-89 years, with special reference to fatigue. The findings were presented in two themes, ‘living with the loss of physical energy’, and ‘striving for independence while being aware of deteriorating health’. The conclusion in study IV was in accordance with the results in the quantitative studies, indicating that the experience of HF or symptoms similar to HF had the greatest impact on the physical dimensions of fatigue and health-related quality of life. From a clinical perspective the findings in this thesis emphasize the importance of careful investigation of each patients experienced problems. In particular symptoms of depression and different dimensions of fatigue need to be analysed. Interventions aimed at reducing fatigue needs to be developed, and its further impact on health-related quality of life should be investigated.