Abstract 172: Patients' Experiences from Symptom Onset to Initial Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation
Background: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is expected to increase 2.5-fold by 2050. As a result, there will be a greater demand for clinicians to provide patient education regarding the nature of AF and its management. Early self-management education is critical to provide patients with knowledge and skills they need to recognize AF, control its progression, and reduce associated complications of stroke and heart failure. Greater understanding of patients’ experiences from symptom onset through initial treatment for AF is needed to guide development of patient centered interventions to promote early effective self-management.
Purpose: To describe patients’ experiences from symptom onset through initial treatment of AF.
Methods: A descriptive qualitative design was used. Twenty females and 21 males at a Midwest academic medical center were interviewed using open-ended questions to explore their experiences from symptom onset through the initial treatment for AF. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: Participants’ mean age was 64.3 SD = 10.1 years. Themes emerging from data were: 1) understanding the meaning of symptoms 2) learning about AF 3) emotional response and 4) feeling cared for by healthcare providers. Participants were unacquainted with AF and took cues from providers’ responses to appraise their symptoms and diagnosis. Fear and uncertainty were reduced when providers initiated prompt treatment. Receiving clear, comprehensive information about AF was appreciated by participants and described as a factor in feeling cared for by providers.
Conclusions: Providers’ played a critical role in reducing patients' emotional distress and helping them to develop an accurate understanding of AF symptoms and treatment. This study provides new insight into participant experiences from symptom onset through initial treatment of AF which may inform development of patient centered interventions to promote early effective AF self-management.
Author Disclosures: P.J. McCabe: None. L. Rhudy: None. H. DeVon: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.