Few studies have addressed the experience of living with chronic heart disease. Understanding how persons appraise and respond to heart disease will foster nurses' ability to provide holistic client care. The purpose of this pilot study was to extend understanding of the experience of living with chronic heart disease and to identify questions for further study. Qualitative inquiry was the interpretive approach guiding this descriptive explorative study. Individuals eligible for participation were (a) 18 years or older, (b) able to read and speak English, and (c) at least 1 year post acute cardiac event and free of chronic illness unrelated to heart disease. A purposive sample of 4 women and 6 men with chronic heart disease participated in the study. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale (MUIS-C) and analyzed for common themes. Four themes emerged: (a) Uncertainty, (b) change over time, (c) conflict, and (d) playing the game. Living with heart disease is a dynamic experience characterized by periods of certainty, uncertainty, and changes in behavior and feelings that evolve over time. Understanding this experience will assist nurses in providing holistic care to clients and their family.


qualitative research

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