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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI College of Nursing receives $144,000 grant
to help congestive heart failure patients

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 11, 2002 -- Imagine not having the "wind power" to fold napkins, take a shower or go to church.

Two University of Rhode Island College of Nursing professors may have a solution for people who face such limitations because of congestive heart failure.

The $144,000 three-year grant from the National Institute of Health will allow Associate Nursing Professors Evelyn M.J. Yeaw of Coventry and Cynthia A. Padula of Richmond to find out whether exercises done by such patients to increase respiratory function will help them to breathe better and thus help them to carry out basic daily living activities.

Awarded by NIH’s Nursing Institute of Nursing Research this fall, the grant award follows two pilot programs Yeaw and Padula developed in which patients reported an increased ability to perform basic daily living tasks.

Now the two professors want to test their method on a wider population of congestive heart failure cardiac patients. Yeaw said she and Padula are working with five Rhode Island doctors to recruit patients from Providence, Warwick and South County communities.

The treatment is called inspiratory muscle training and uses a small device, which resembles an inhaler, to strengthen the muscles for respiration.

"The patient breathes into the hand held device under a prescribed amount of pressure. The pressure is increased over time as respiratory strength improves," said Padula.

The nursing professors will recruit participants over eight different time periods. The patients in the experimental group will use the inspiratory muscle training while the control group will participate in a comprehensive, standard education program.

Each group will benefit from home follow-up visits from nursing faculty and graduate students during each of the 12-week study periods throughout the three years. "We have established goals for both the experimental and control groups, so each group benefits from our involvement," Padula said.

"Our goal is to improve the quality of life for cardiac patients," Yeaw said. "We believe this treatment will improve their muscle strength and potentially help them to do things they haven’t done in years."

The program will also facilitate hands on experience for nursing students and graduate students. Lisa Sullivan of Newport and a nursing graduate student at URI helped develop the education seminar.

"We have run two pilots in the last three years and have noticed improvements. One woman wanted to go to church again. That was her goal and now she is able to do it again," said Yeaw.
The study is seeking adults with chronic congestive heart disease who have been medically stable for at least six months. A patient must have demonstrated limitations in daily living functions.

"Dick Cheney, for example, would be perfect for this study. He is elderly and active but has limitations," said Yeaw.

"We believe that if patients have confidence in using the device, the more likely they are to complete the exercises," Padula said.

"We have gotten a very positive response from the doctors who participated in the pilot studies. They said during the previous pilot programs the treatment reduced the number of calls to doctors and visits to doctors’ offices and also emergency rooms," said Yeaw.

Padula and Yeaw are recruiting for the first part of the treatment program through January and then approximately every three months. For more information on the program, please contact Cynthia Padula at 401-874-5344 or Evelyn Yeaw at 401-874-5346.

For Information: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862, Sarah Emmett, 401-874-2116

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