Objective: Physical activity is an essential part of managing heart failure. However, adherence to activity recommendations is low, especially in female patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions of healthcare providers regarding sex differences in physical activity, motivation, barriers, and whether adaptations in care based on sex might be meaningful. Methods: This is a qualitative study; data were collected in semi-structured interviews with healthcare providers. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The major overarching theme was that healthcare providers feel that “Men and women are equal, but different”. This theme was explained in terms of 7 sub-themes with associated categories, as follows: “Men and women prefer and perform different physical activity regardless of health status”, “Male and female heart failure patients have different motivations for, and barriers to, being active”, “Factors related to differences in physical activity and physical capacity between male and female heart failure patients”, “Heart failure has more impact on physical activity and physical capacity than patient's sex”, and “Tailoring activity advice for heart failure patients based on sex.” Discussion: Healthcare providers had clear opinions regarding the existence of sex differences that might affect patients' care. Several differences were identified in male and female heart failure patients in terms of physical activity. There seems to be a conflict between fear of discriminating and the value of personalizing care.
- Heart failure