Factors related to fatigue among older patients with heart failure in primary health care

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Our aim was to explore the relationship between fatigue and physical, mental, social and demographic factors among older patients with heart failure, with special reference to gender.


If interventions aimed at preventing or alleviating fatigue are to be successful, more knowledge about factors associated with fatigue is needed.


A cross-sectional design was used.


Forty-nine patients aged 77.7 ± 8.7 years (21 men and 28 women) with verified heart failure from one primary healthcare centre answered a questionnaire including Multi-dimensional Fatigue Inventory, 36-item Short-Form Health Survey, Geriatric Depression Scale, Self-Transcendence Scale, Resilience Scale, Social Provision Scale and demographic variables. Descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.


Levels of general fatigue were high (mean 14.6 ± 3.9). Female gender (β = 0.280, P=0.033) and role function for physical reasons (β = −0.458, P=0.001) explained 36% of the variance in general fatigue.


Fatigue was more closely related to limitations in role functioning for physical reasons than to reduced physical function per se or to mental and social factors. Women reported more fatigue than men.

Relevance to clinical practice

Caregivers should examine the impact of fatigue in everyday life for each individual.

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