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Hvidovre Hospital - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Dancing with atrial fibrillation - How arrhythmia affects everyday life of family members: A qualitative study

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BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. Patients with AF often experience debilitating symptoms, stress and reduced health-related quality of life. Previous qualitative research on AF has primarily focused on the patient. AF, however, can also be burdensome for the patient's family.

AIM: The aim of this study was to explore how family members experience life when a close member in the family has AF.

METHOD: Transcribed focus group interviews were analysed using content analysis approach inspired by Graneheim and Lundman.

RESULTS: Two focus group interviews were conducted with 11 family members. The overall theme was Dancing with AF. The theme emerged from three categories: 1) Handling AF as a living condition, 2) Influencing the roles of family members, 3) Fear of AF attack. AF had a very significant impact on the patients' family members, forcing them to reconstruct their daily lives.

CONCLUSIONS: AF has multiple consequences for family members and can give rise to conflicts concerning family roles. Family members have a lack of knowledge of AF and fear of how AF can cause changes in the family members' everyday lives. This study demonstrates that there is a need for further research of ways to support the family members of patients with AF.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0254130
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021

ID: 66571623