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Self-management interventions for women can reduce cardiac pain

Parry M, Bjornnes AK, Victor JC, et al.  Self-management interventions for women with cardiac pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis The Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2017; 34(4): 458-467.

Review question

  • Are self-management interventions effective among women with cardiac pain?


  • Cardiac pain is an important indicator of coronary artery disease.
  • Women with cardiac pain may not seek appropriate medical support because the symptoms are difficult to interpret.
  • Self-management interventions such as goal setting, planning and monitoring self behaviours have been proposed for women with cardiac pain to actively engage them in their own care and treatment. However, little is known about the effectiveness of self-management for women with cardiac pain and similar symptoms, such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, and exhaustion. 

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of a number of electronic databases was conducted to identify studies published up to and including 2018. Studies that focused on self-management of cardiac pain in women with coronary artery disease were included in the systematic review.
  • A total of 22,402 studies were identified in searches, and 57 were included in the review after assessing their eligibility.
  • This review was partly funded by a research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.

What the researchers found

  • The researchers found that promoting self-management interventions led to significant improvement in pain associated with heart-related symptoms among women with coronary artery disease.
  • The review found that symptoms often linked to heart conditions, such as fatigue and difficulty breathing, also decreased in women with mild forms of coronary artery disease.
  • The review found that while cardiac pain decreased, overall bodily pain was unchanged after self-management interventions.


  • The review found that promoting self-management interventions led to significant improvement in cardiac pain and similar symptoms in women with both severe and mild forms of coronary artery disease.


Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

Related Web Resources

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