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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 918973, 6 pages
Review Article

Women with Heart Failure Are at High Psychosocial Risk: A Systematic Review of How Sex and Gender Influence Heart Failure Self-Care

Faculty of Nursing, 3rd Floor Clinical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G3

Received 20 November 2010; Revised 10 January 2011; Accepted 14 January 2011

Academic Editor: Dirk Westermann

Copyright © 2011 Jody R. Thomas and Alexander M. Clark. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To improve patient support, it is important to understand how people view and experience Heart Failure (HF) self-care. This systematic review of qualitative studies included all published studies that examine the influence of sex and gender on HF self-care. A systematic search was done for papers (1995–2010) indexed in Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Medline, Ovid EMBASE, Ovid PsycINFO, CSA Sociological Abstracts, OVID AARP Ageline, EBSCO Academic Search Complete, EBSCO CINAHL, EBSCO SocINDEX, ISI Web of Science: Social Sciences Citation Index and Science Citation Index Expanded, and Scopus. After screening of 537 citations, six qualitative studies identified that differences existed in perceptions of symptoms with women having less family involvement and psychosocial support around self-care. Moreover, women had considerably more negative views of the future, themselves and their ability to fulfill social self-care roles. Women with HF represent a highly vulnerable population and need more support for psychosocial wellbeing and self-care.