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Lived experiences of women prior to the diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome

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Zollar, Tracey
Moss, Vicki
Apr 10, 2009
Women's Health; Heart, Diseases, Patients; Coronary Disease , Diagnosis
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women and the primary cause of women's disability in the U.S. today. Acute coronary syndrome is inadequate blood flow through the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This can result in damage to the heart muscle or death. In the past, studies generally excluded the female population. Recent studies have shown that there are some significant differences between men and women regarding clinical presentation, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of women prior to the diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). This study provided information to better understand the prodromal and acute symptoms that women have prior to ACS. The theoretical framework for this study was based on Newman's 1999 nursing theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness. Nurse practitioners from a northeastern Wisconsin clinic helped to identify SUbjects who fit the criteria and who were willing to participate in the study. Data were collected through unstructured interviews that asked adult female participants to respond to the follOWing open-ended questions: 1. Tell me about your experience when you had your heart attack. 2. How was your life before you had your heart attack? 3. Did you have any new or unusual symptoms prior to your heart attack that you believe were associated with your heart attack? 4. What symptoms did you experience during your heart attack and how severe were these symptoms? 5. Has your life changed since this experience? The participants were interviewed either in their home or in the clinic office. The participants decided on the location. The researcher explained the study and obtained written consent prior to the interview process. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The researcher also developed a demographic questionnaire that was given to each participant to complete immediately prior to the interview. The interviews lasted approximately 1 hour.
A Clinical Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner --University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 2008
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