Risk for decreased cardiac output: validation of a proposal for nursing diagnosis

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Nurs Crit Care

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nursing in critical care

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



AIM: To verify the content validity of the nursing diagnosis risk for decreased cardiac output (RDCO). BACKGROUND: DCO is a phenomenon that is not restricted to individuals or environments that specifically focus on cardiovascular care. It is not only prevalent in cardiovascular care units, but also in post-anaesthesia units and non-cardiac care units among individuals with non-cardiogenic disorders. A significant decrease in cardiac output is a life-threatening situation, demonstrating the need for developing a risk nursing diagnosis for early intervention. The development of this diagnosis requires the construction of a diagnosis label, a definition of the diagnostic concept and the risk factors associated with the diagnosis. METHODS: The research was carried out in two methodological stages based on the Fehring diagnosis content validation model. The quantitative analysis consisted of the calculation of the weighted mean of the values attributed by experts to each risk factor, the level of agreement/disagreement between the experts regarding the operational definitions of risk factors and the index of diagnostic content validity (DCV). RESULTS: The label 'risk for decreased cardiac output' was considered representative of a nursing diagnosis defined as 'at risk of developing a health status characterized by an insufficient quantity of blood pumped by the heart to meet physical metabolic demands'. Critical risk factors (DCV >/= 0.7) were myocardial dysfunction (0.887), blood loss (0.875), increase in intrapericardial pressure (0.825), condition that leads to changes in cardiac rhythm and/or electrical conduction (0.812), deficient fluid volume (0.725), plasma loss (0.712), ineffective tissue perfusion (0.712) and electrolyte imbalance (0.7). CONCLUSIONS: The research identified eight risk factors with valid content for assessment of RDCO. Implications for nursing practice: The identification of risk factors for DCO assists nurses to intervene early and minimize the consequences of a deficient cardiac function.


Adult, Cardiac Output, Low/diagnosis/nursing, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Nursing Diagnosis/methods/standards, Nursing Staff/education, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Factors, Young Adult

Published Article/Book Citation

Nursing in critical care, 16:6 (2011) pp.287-294. DOI:10.1111/j.1478-5153.2011.00453.x;.

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