Predictors of symptom congruence among patients with acute myocardial infarction

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Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing





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adult, aged, Aged, 80 and over, article, Chest Pain, female, heart infarction, human, Humans, interview, Interviews as Topic, male, middle aged, myocardial infarction, pain assessment, Pain Measurement, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, patient attitude, questionnaire, Questionnaires, regression analysis, sex difference, Sex Factors, symptom congruence, symptoms, thorax pain


Background and Objectives: The extent of congruence between one's symptom experience and preconceived ideas about the nature of myocardial infarction symptoms (ie, symptom congruence) can influence when acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients seek medical care. Lengthy delays impede timely receipt of medical interventions and result in greater morbidity and mortality. However, little is known about the factors that contribute to symptom congruence. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine how AMI patients' symptom experiences and patients' demographic and clinical characteristics contribute to symptom congruence. Participants and Methods: Secondary data analyses were performed on interview data that were collected from 135 AMI patients. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to examine how specific symptom attributes and demographic and clinical characteristics contribute to symptom congruence. Chest pain/discomfort and other symptom variables (type and location) were included in step 1 of the analysis, whereas symptom severity and demographic and clinical factors were included in step 2. In a second analysis, quality descriptors of discomfort replaced chest pain/discomfort in step 1. Results: Although chest pain/discomfort, and quality descriptors of heaviness and cutting were significant in step 1 of their respective analyses, all became nonsignificant when the variables in step 2 were added to the analyses. Severe discomfort (β = .29, P < .001), history of AMI (β = .21, P < .01), and male sex (β = .17, P < .05) were significant predictors of symptom congruence in the first analysis. Only severe discomfort (β = .23, P < .01) and history of AMI (β = .17, P < .05) were predictive of symptom congruence in the second analysis. Conclusions: Although the location and quality of discomfort were important components of symptom congruence, symptom severity outweighed their importance. Nonsevere symptoms were less likely to meet the expectations of AMI symptoms by those experiencing this event. Those without a previous history of AMI also experienced lower levels of symptom congruence. Implications pertaining to these findings are discussed. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.