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Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale, heart failure, risk assessment



  1. Asano, Reiko PhD, RN
  2. Anderson, Kelley M. PhD, FNP
  3. Koirala, Binu PhD, MGS, RN
  4. Abshire, Martha PhD, RN
  5. Himmelfarb, Cheryl Dennison PhD, RN, FAAN
  6. Davidson, Patricia M. PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN


Background: Heart failure is a troublesome condition with high healthcare utilization and cost. Most individuals with heart failure experience multiple symptoms including breathlessness, pain, depression, and anxiety.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to review the literature describing the use of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale to assess the burden of symptoms and the impact of symptoms on heart failure outcomes including quality of life and functional outcomes.


Methods: The search engines PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and Web of Science were searched from January 2001 to March 2020. A review of literature was undertaken using key terms "heart failure," "CHF," "cardiac failure," "heart decompensation," "myocardial failure," "Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale". Hand searching of articles was also undertaken.


Results: The search resulted in 33 relevant articles, which were imported into Rayyan, a Web-based systematic review software program. We present synthesis of results of studies (1) using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale as an assessment of symptom burden and (2) evaluating the impact of symptom burden on quality of life and functional status.


Conclusion: This review highlighted the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale as a predictive instrument to identify symptom burden, symptom clusters, and symptom changes for patients living with heart failure. The clinical use of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale may identify treatment priorities, promote self-management, inform the treatment plan, and advance effective therapeutic adjustments. The symptom burden in heart failure is high, and improving the symptom experience is an important focus of future healthcare interventions. The Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale has utility in heart failure management due to psychometric properties and ease of administration.


Clinical Implications: The Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale may be useful in measuring patient-reported symptom burden in patients with heart failure in the clinical setting because it correlates well with other heart failure measures on quality of life and functional outcomes and provides useful information on symptom burden.