Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation





First Advisor

Dr. Debra K. Moser


Patients with heart failure (HF) must monitor and recognize escalating symptoms to manage worsening HF in a timely manner. However, routine symptom monitoring is not commonly performed by this population.

Providing a symptom diary along with an education and counseling session may help HF patients promote symptom monitoring and interpretation. The accumulated information about changes in daily symptoms will allow patients to easily compare current symptom status to the past without depending on memory and can rapidly capture worsening HF. To date, few studies have tested the effect of a daily symptom diary.

The purpose of this dissertation was to develop and test a symptom diary intervention to improve outcomes in HF patients. Prior to testing the intervention, preliminary work included: (1) determining the impact of symptom clusters on cardiac event-free survival; (2) evaluating the quality of existing symptom measures designed for HF patients; (3) evaluating the effect of physical symptom items that were often included in a depressive symptom instrument on cardiac event-free survival; and (4) evaluating the association between symptom monitoring and self-care management. Based on this information, a randomized, controlled pilot study was conducted to test the effect of a symptom diary with an education and counseling intervention on prognosis, healthrelated quality of life (HRQOL), and self-care maintenance at 3 months follow-up.

A total of 44 hospitalized patients with HF were randomly assigned to either usual care or intervention providing a daily symptom diary with education and counseling. There were trends toward fewer HF events and improved self-care maintenance in the intervention group compared to the usual care group. However, there was no difference in HRQOL between the two groups.

The results of this dissertation suggest the importance of assessing symptom clusters and further studies to improve the quality of existing HF symptom measures. Results from this dissertation also provided the evidence of the advantages of regular symptom monitoring to facilitate early identification of worsening HF and initiation of timely responses. However, further studies are needed to provide additional evidence of the positive impact of a use of daily symptom diary in patients with HF.

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Nursing Commons