Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Objectives: To explore 2 key points in the heart failure diagnostic pathway-symptom onset and diagnostic meaning-from the patient perspective. Design: Qualitative interview study. Setting: Participants were recruited from a secondary care clinic in central England following referral from primary care. Participants: Over age 55 years with a recent ( < 1 year) diagnosis of heart failure confirmed by a cardiologist following initial presentation to primary care. Methods: Semistructured interviews were carried out with 16 participants (11 men and 5 women, median age 78.5 years) in their own homes. Data were audiorecorded and transcribed. Participants were asked to describe their diagnostic journey from when they first noticed something wrong up to and including the point of diagnosis. Data were analysed using the framework method. Results: Participants initially normalised symptoms and only sought medical help when daily activities were affected. Failure to realise that anything was wrong led to a delay in help-seeking. Participants' understanding of the term 'heart failure' was variable and 1 participant did not know he had the condition. The term itself caused great anxiety initially but participants learnt to cope with and accept their diagnosis over time. Conclusions: Greater public awareness of symptoms and adequate explanation of 'heart failure' as a diagnostic label, or reconsideration of its use, are potential areas of service improvement.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013648

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ Open

Publication Date

01/03/2017

Volume

7