OBJECTIVE: To provide a critical review and analysis of heart failure (HF)-specific symptom measures
METHODS: A systematic search using the PubMed and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) databases and reference lists of relevant papers was undertaken to identify symptom measures that were primarily designed for patients with HF.
RESULTS: The systematic search yielded seven instruments that included three or more symptoms. Of the seven instruments, only five had psychometric properties available and these were reviewed. Levels of comprehensiveness of symptom measures varied including the number of symptoms assessed (13-32 symptoms/signs) and symptom dimensions (e.g. frequency and severity). Information about reading levels, time to completion, and completion rates was limited. Psychometric properties of the five measures have not been extensively investigated or reported.
CONCLUSION: The development and use of the HF symptoms instruments is at a relatively early stage. Thus, further investigation of the psychometric characteristics of existing HF-specific symptom instruments is necessary before one can be recommended for research and clinical use.