FAU Seeks Participants for Online Heart Failure and Fatigue Study

Heart, Heart Failure, Fatigue, Study

Although heart failure affects more than 6 million Americans over age 20 and is on the rise, fatigue resulting from this condition is underdiagnosed.

By gisele galoustian | 9/28/2023

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs, resulting in various unpleasant symptoms that negatively affect quality of life. One of the most common and distressing symptoms of heart failure is fatigue, which is often confused with being tired. Unfortunately, fatigue is much more serious than simply being tired – tiredness is resolved after a period of rest while fatigue is not.

Experts define fatigue as an overwhelming sensation of lack of energy that does not improve after a night of sleep or rest, impacting a person’s ability to function physically and socially. Although heart failure affects more than 6 million Americans over age 20 and is on the rise, fatigue resulting from this condition is underdiagnosed.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing are conducting a “Heart Failure and Fatigue” study to prove that an easy-to-use survey is a reliable method to assist health care providers to evaluate fatigue in patients with heart failure.

This survey also will help researchers advance the understanding of which characteristics put patients with heart failure and fatigue at a higher risk of hospitalization. Developing a reliable tool for health care providers will enable adequate fatigue management that can be initiated early on in heart failure to prevent hospital admissions and allow patients to have a better quality of life.

“There are several reasons why fatigue is underdiagnosed in patients who have heart failure,” said Rita Gengo, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and an assistant professor in FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “For example, patients may not recognize fatigue as a symptom of heart failure and think their chronic tiredness or lack of energy is part of the aging process, so they assume that there is nothing that can be done and simply live with fatigue. Currently, there are few reliable resources that health care providers can use to evaluate fatigue in patients with heart failure, which is why we are conducting this study.”

The College of Nursing is currently recruiting patients with heart failure to answer five short surveys that will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes to complete online. Study participants must be 18 or older and diagnosed with heart failure. After answering all of the questions in all of the surveys, participants will receive a $20 gift card. 

More information is available at fau.edu/research-admin/cores/clinicalresearchunit/ heart-failure-and-fatigue-study/ . For additional information or to participate in this study, contact the FAU Clinical Research Unit to be screened for eligibility at 561-235-4467 or CRUDOR@health.fau.edu.