Heart Failure Patients' Perceptions on Nutrition and Dietary Adherence


INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to explore patients' perception about how the foods they eat impact heart failure (HF) symptoms, their understanding of dietary recommendations received, and factors affecting their adherence to dietary recommendations that include recommendations to follow a low sodium diet and a low-fat diet.

METHODS: Qualitative data were obtained from 20 patients using semi-structured interviews.

RESULTS: The majority of patients believed that food intake could impact their health, but less than half thought sodium could affect HF symptoms. Eighty-five percent of patients received recommendations for a specific diet, but only 60% reported following them. Factors identified as affecting adherence included: a) knowledge, b) social pressure and encouragement from others, c) social situations, and d) food as a source of pleasure and enjoyment.

CONCLUSION: Ability to follow dietary recommendations remains a problem for many patients. Patients identified several key factors that affected ability to follow dietary recommendations. Strategies that target these factors may promote patients' decision to follow dietary recommendations and enhance their ability to do so.

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Published in European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, v. 8, no. 5, p. 323–328.

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