Background: Patients’ knowledge of heart failure (HF) is integral to improved outcomes. However, the HF literature has not adequately explored the nature of patients’ knowledge of HF as part of their lived experience.

Objectives: We aimed to characterize the nature of patients’ knowledge of HF, in the context of living with the disease.

Methods: We conducted a narrative synthesis of qualitative studies that addressed patients’ knowledge of HF. Studies were systematically searched and retrieved from MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES databases. Findings were synthesized using an iterative coding process carried out by multiple analysts and reported following Enhancing Transparency in the Reporting of Qualitative Health Research (ENTREQ) criteria.

Results: Analysis of 73 eligible articles produced five themes: the content that comprises HF knowledge; development of HF knowledge over time; application of HF knowledge for decision making; communication of information between clinicians and patients; and patients’ experience of knowledge.

Conclusion: The nature of patients’ knowledge of HF is both explicit and implicit, dynamic, and personal. This multidimensional model of knowledge-in-context calls for equally multidimensional research and intervention design.

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Heart & Lung

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