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Psychosocial impacts of spontaneous coronary artery dissection: A qualitative study
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-16, 04:07 authored by BM Murphy, MC Rogerson, S Hesselson, SE Iismaa, RM Graham, AC Jackson
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is an increasingly recognised cause of acute myocardial infarction, particularly in younger women without classic cardiac risk factors. While recent quantitative studies have noted high anxiety and depression in SCAD survivors, the full range and extent of psychosocial impacts of SCAD is unknown. The present study used a qualitative approach to investigate the psychosocial impacts of SCAD in Australian SCAD survivors. Focus group participants were recruited as part of a larger study of SCAD survivors currently being undertaken by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. Thirty SCAD survivors participated in one of seven online focus groups, conducted using a semi-structured format. Focus group duration was 1.5 hours. Each was digitally recorded and transcribed. Data were analyzed thematically according to recommended guidelines. One over-arching theme, five main themes and 26 sub-themes were identified. The overarching theme related to lack of information, while the five main themes related to emotional impacts, issues with self-management, issues with family, impacts on work life, and the need for psychosocial support. The ‘emotional impacts’ theme comprised 11 sub-themes, namely shock and disbelief, confusion and uncertainty, unfairness, fear and anxiety, loss and grief, isolation and loneliness, guilt, invalidation and embarrassment, depression, vulnerability, and frustration. Findings are discussed in light of relevant psychological theories. This qualitative study extends previous quantitative investigations of SCAD survivors by providing an in-depth understanding of the complex, inter-related and highly distressing impacts of SCAD. The findings point to the urgent need for a coherent approach to information provision, the development and delivery of SCAD-specific cardiac rehabilitation programs, and the provision of psychosocial support programs for SCAD survivors.