Am I going to die now? Experiences of hospitalisation and subsequent life after being diagnosed with aortic dissection

Mette Jönsson, Selina Kikkenborg Berg, Malene Missel, Pernille Palm

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Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition with mortality up to 75%. In the acute phase, patients are constrained with total bed rest until pain relief and blood pressure has been stabilised. Some need surgery. Aortic dissection is associated with anxiety and poor health-related quality of life. However, no study has explored the experience of living through aortic dissection. The aim of this study was to explore the patient experience of living through aortic dissection. Data were collected in interviews with 10 patients who lived through aortic dissection. Data were gathered and analysed using a phenomenological approach. The qualitative analysis revealed four themes; 'Am I going to die now? - the existential turning point when diagnosed with life-threatening aortic dissection', 'compromised integrity during admission - experiences of hospitalisation', 'Signals from my body - a new awareness of the body after discharge', 'What can I do? - uncertainties about physical activity in daily life posthospitalisation'. Experiences of aortic dissection are a life-threatening and overwhelming existential life situation which includes a period of constraining hospitalisation and experiences a compromised integrity. Patients have substantial concerns regarding body signals and a constantly uncertainty about what kind of activity level they can sustain which affect their mental well-being and their daily life. These findings contribute to understanding and elaborating a more nuanced description of being diagnosed with aortic dissection, which is essential when planning high-quality treatment and care, developing sufficient follow-up and preventing adverse events.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)929-936
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2021
Udgivet eksterntJa

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