What is the experience of men and women with congestive heart failure?

Can J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2004;14(3):9-20.


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is increasing in incidence and prevalence in both men and women in Canada. Research findings to date have been inconsistent with respect to whether gender differences influence quality of life, treatment and survival. There is a paucity of qualitative research describing the experience of patients with CHF This qualitative case study approach used semistructured interviews with women and men with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class three or four CHF who were referred to a CHF clinic. In addition to quality of life measures, data related to medical history, medical management and NYHA scores were collected to offer a thorough description of these clients' experiences. Three hypotheses were generated from 13 themes that emerged. First, the psychosocial impact of CHF outweighs the physical impact. Second, sex differences exist in relation to living with CHF with men being more accepting of CHF and more likely to experience social isolation and loss than women, while women are more likely to describe fear. Third, the experience of CHF is influenced by age with physical experiences and depression mentioned more frequently in younger age groups. Findings from this study have generated nursing implications and recommendations for further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Heart Failure / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men / education
  • Men / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Ontario
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Isolation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology*