Illness Perceptions in Congestive Heart Failure

Developing protocols to improve planning, monitoring and adherence for physical activity in patients recovering from congestive heart failure (CHF).

Full Project Name:Illness Perceptions in Congestive Heart FailurePrincipal Investigator:Nunzio Gaglianello, MD, MedicineCo-Investigator:David Nelson, PhD, Family and Community MedicineAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
January2018
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


Congestive Heart Failure afflicts 5.8 million individuals in the US, and accounts for 1 million hospitalizations each year. In addition, CHF accounts for major morbidity, reduced quality of life, and greater healthcare costs for a significant portion of the US and Wisconsin. There is strong evidence that managing CHF with light- and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity can result in increased length and health-related quality of life. However, patient adherence to recommended physical activity is very low. On average, fewer than 10 percent of CHF patients achieve physician recommended goals to engage in regular exercise to relieve symptoms. There is also evidence that less than half of CHF patients who have enrolled in clinical trials to use exercise as an intervention for managing their condition achieve the target goals for activity within the rigorous structure of the trial.

Through this project, investigators aim to develop protocols to improve planning, monitoring and adherence for physical activity in patients recovering from congestive heart failure (CHF).

Project Updates:


•Refined outlines for focus groups and survey tools to assess patient illness and treatment perceptions

• Conducted 13 focus groups with 32 patients and 16 supporters who participated in the 90 minute sessions

• Transcribed and analyzed all audiotaped sessions; saturation of themes was reached

• Developed a series of questions to capture provider perceptions of patient barriers to engaging in PA, and four providers from the CHF clinic gave informal feedback on these

• Set up the final anonymous provider survey on‐line using RedCap and sent emails to all clinic providers (N~75); received 26 responses thus far

• Selected publically available educational materials on physical activity (e.g.NIA: Exercise and Physical Activity; Move More, Sit Less) for revision

• Developed a prototype tool to help patients more accurately assess physical symptoms, effectiveness of their efforts, and progress for increasing physical activity

• Researched 24 options and selected the tracking device for use in the intervention trial

• Identified a small group of 4‐5 CHF patients willing to test the devices in conjunction with the educational and assessment tools

• Applied for and was awarded $4,000 in grants to support this work

• Published one manuscript; Conducted four poster presentations at local and national conferences to share knowledge from this project

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