The experience of fatigue among elderly women with chronic heart failure

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Background: Fatigue is a common and distressing symptom in chronic heart failure (CHF). Most of the current methods for evaluating patients' symptoms fail to consider the meaning or importance that these symptoms have for the patient. Aim: To illuminate the lived experience of fatigue among elderly women with CHF. Method: Narrative interviews were conducted with 10 women with CHF, aged 73-89 years. Interviews were analysed with qualitative content analysis. Results: The findings are presented in two themes and five subthemes. The first theme, 'living with the loss of physical energy', was based on three subthemes describing the experience of fatigue: 'experiencing a substantial presence of feebleness and unfamiliar bodily sensations', 'experiencing unpredictable variations in physical ability', and 'needing help from others in daily life'. The second theme, 'striving for independence while being aware of deteriorating health', describes how the women managed their life situation; it was based on two subthemes: 'acknowledging one's remaining abilities', and 'being forced to adjust and struggle for independence'. Conclusions: Fatigue was experienced as loss of physical energy, leading to discrepancies between intention and capacity. The will to reduce dependency on others involved a daily struggle against fatigue. © 2007 European Society of Cardiology.




Hägglund, L., Boman, K., & Lundman, B. (2008). The experience of fatigue among elderly women with chronic heart failure. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 7(4), 290–295.

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