Self-Management Interventions for Women With Cardiac Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Cardiac pain is considered the primary indicator of coronary artery disease (CAD). Existing reviews lack appropriate numbers of women or sex-based subgroup analyses, or both; thus, the benefits of self-management (women with cardiac pain actively participating in their own care and treatment) remain uncertain. METHODS: Using methods described by the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre at the Institute of Education, 7 databases were systematically searched to examine and synthesize the evidence on self-management interventions for women with cardiac pain and cardiac pain equivalents, such as fatigue, dyspnea, and exhaustion. RESULTS: Our search yielded 22,402 article titles and abstracts. Of these, 57 randomized controlled trials were included in a final narrative synthesis, comprising data from 13,047 participants, including 5299 (41%) women. Self-management interventions targeting cardiac pain in women compared with a control population reduced (1) cardiac pain frequency and cardiac pain proportion (obstructive and nonobstructive CAD), (2) fatigue at 12 months, and (3) dyspnea at 2 months. There was no evidence of group differences in postprocedural (percutaneous coronary intervention or cardiac surgery) pain. Results indicated that self-management interventions for cardiac pain were more effective if they included a greater proportion of women (standardized mean difference [SMD], -0.01; standard error, 0.003; P = 0.02), goal setting (SMD, -0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.49 to -0.03), and collaboration/support from health care providers (SMD, -0.57; 95% CI, -1.00 to -0.14). CONCLUSIONS: The results of this review suggest that self-management interventions reduce cardiac pain and cardiac pain equivalents.


  • Parry, Monica
  • Bjørnnes, Ann Kristin
  • Victor, J Charles
  • Ayala, Ana Patricia
  • Lenton, Erica
  • Clarke, Hance
  • Harvey, Paula
  • Lalloo, Chitra
  • McFetridge-Durdle, Judith
  • McGillion, Michael
  • Price, Jennifer
  • Stinson, Jennifer
  • Watt-Watson, Judy

publication date

  • April 2018