Patients' experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation

Pamela J. Mccabe, Lori Rhudy, Holli A. Devon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To describe patients' experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation. Background: The estimated number of individuals with atrial fibrillation globally in 2010 was 33·5 million. World-wide, each year, new cases of atrial fibrillation approach 5 million, and prevalence will increase 2·5-fold by 2050. As a result, clinicians worldwide will treat a growing number of patients with atrial fibrillation. Early intervention to promote atrial fibrillation self-management is critical to reduce associated complications of stroke and heart failure. Greater understanding of patients' experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation is needed to guide development of interventions to promote early effective self-management. Design: A descriptive qualitative design was used. Methods: Twenty females and 21 males at an academic medical centre were interviewed using open-ended questions to explore their experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: Participants' mean age was 64·3 (SD = 10·1) years. Four themes were identified: (1) misinterpreting symptoms; (2) discovering the meaning of atrial fibrillation; (3) facing fears, uncertainty, and moving to acceptance; and (4) receiving validation and reassurance. Participants lacked knowledge of atrial fibrillation and took cues from providers' responses to appraise symptoms and diagnosis. Fear and uncertainty were reduced when providers initiated prompt treatment and took time to explain atrial fibrillation. Patients appreciated receiving clear information about atrial fibrillation, were engaged in learning, and motivated to participate in their care. Conclusions: Providers played a critical role in helping patients to develop an accurate understanding of atrial fibrillation, to cope with the new diagnosis, and motivated them to engage in effective self-management. Relevance to clinical practice: Insight into participant experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation may inform development of interventions to promote effective atrial fibrillation self-management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-796
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume24
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Fingerprint

Atrial Fibrillation
Self Care
Therapeutics
Uncertainty
Fear
Cues
Heart Failure
Stroke
Learning

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Patient education
  • Patient experiences
  • Patient perspectives
  • Patient-provider interaction
  • Qualitative content analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

Cite this

Patients' experiences from symptom onset to initial treatment for atrial fibrillation. / Mccabe, Pamela J.; Rhudy, Lori; Devon, Holli A.

In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol. 24, No. 5-6, 01.03.2015, p. 786-796.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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