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Symptoms and Distress Among Patients With Liver Cirrhosis but Without Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Taiwan

Tsai, Li-Hung MSN, RN; Lin, Chang-Ming MS; Chiang, Shu-Chen RN; Chen, Chia-Ling MS; Lan, Su-Jane RN; See, Lai-Chu PhD

doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000020
Features

A cross-sectional study design was used to assess the items and frequency of physical symptoms and psychological distress among patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) but without hepatocellular carcinoma. Inpatients with LC were recruited from a medical center in northern Taiwan. Informants were asked to describe their frequency of symptoms and distress at 2 weeks before admission. During August 2008 and July 2009, 49 patients participated. The symptoms and distress were moderate, with a mean of 3.9 and 4.2 of 7, respectively. The mean ranking of subscales from the highest to lowest was abdominal symptoms, fatigue, fluid retention, loss of appetite, systemic symptoms, decreased attention, and bleeding. Symptoms and distress were significantly correlated (r = .59). The total scores of symptoms and distress were not associated with causes of the disease (p = .7644, p = .8548, respectively), disease severity (p = .7203, p = .3354, respectively), disease duration (p = .5820, p = .8184, respectively), or previous admission (p = .3094, p = .7365, respectively), but decreased attention was significantly associated with disease severity (p = .0317) and systemic symptoms were significantly associated with disease duration (p = .0267). The study found that physical symptoms and psychological distress are multidimensional and highly correlated. Our findings can be used to develop a symptom management program to relieve discomfort and indirectly improve the quality of life for individuals with LC.

Li-Hung Tsai, MSN, RN, is Lecturer, Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Chang-Ming Lin, MS, is Lecturer, Center of General Education, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Shu-Chen Chiang, RN, is Nurse, Department of Nursing, Zhongxiao Branch of Taipei City Hospital, Nangang District, Taipei, Taiwan.

Chia-Ling Chen, MS, is Research Assistant, Biostatistics Core Laboratory, Molecular Medicine Research Center, Chang Gung University, Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Su-Jane Lan, RN, is Nurse, Department of Nursing, Linkou Branch of Chang Gung Medical Foundation, Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Lai-Chu See, PhD, is Professor, Biostatistics Core Laboratory, Molecular Medicine Research Center, Department of Public Health, Chang Gung University, Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Correspondence to: Lai-Chu See, PhD, Department of Public Health, Chang Gung University, 259 Wen-Hwa 1st Rd., Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan (lichu@mail.cgu.edu.tw).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received April 05, 2012

Accepted September 15, 2012

© 2014 by the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.