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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Food and heart-the nutritional jungle: Patients' experiences of dietary habits and nutritional counselling after coronary artery bypass grafting

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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to examine patients' experience of dietary habits and nutritional counselling in the early period during hospitalisation after coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).

BACKGROUND: Undergoing CABG, patients have two different nutritional needs, extra proteins and calories for the first period after surgery and a heart-healthy diet when the recovery period is over. These needs can be difficult to manage for the patients.

DESIGN: Qualitative study.

METHODS: Interviews were conducted and analysed within a phenomenological-hermeneutic frame inspired by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Patients undergoing CABG were interviewed 4-5 days after surgery at Odense University Hospital from March to May, 2017. The study adhered to the COREQ guidelines.

RESULTS: In total, 15 patients were interviewed (mean age 65 years, 87% men). After analysing the interviews following themes emerged, "Different needs-the nutritional jungle", "Food and heart-the lacking attention," and "The force of habits-being under the influence from spouses on dietary habits".

CONCLUSION: The interviewed patients had no or only a little knowledge about how to eat after heart surgery. In general, they experienced a lack of attention to nutritional counselling by the nursing staff during hospitalisation. Furthermore, the health behaviour of men seems to be different from women's, and therefore, interventions aiming at optimising men's health might be prioritised. Finally, spouses have a great influence on eating habits, why they should be involved in nutritional counselling.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study provides important and relevant knowledge about patients' lacking knowledge about nutrition. When planning nutritional measures, whether it is promoting healing after heart surgery or preventing progression of arteriosclerosis, the study contributes with suggestions as to which factors should be considered in this process-men's health behaviour and spouses' influence on dietary habits in the household.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Aged, Coronary Artery Bypass/nursing, Directive Counseling/methods, Feeding Behavior/psychology, Female, Health Education/methods, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Period, Qualitative Research

ID: 59311916