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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 98–102 | Cite as

The Experiences of Women With Heart Disease: What Are Their Needs?

  • Jean C. MurrayEmail author
  • Patricia O’Farrell
  • Patricia Huston
Article

Abstract

Purpose: To identify experiences and needs of women with coronary artery disease.

Methods: Qualitative research utilizing focus groups and grounded theory. Women were recruited from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Alumni, a group of former Heart Institute patients, and from the Heart Institute cardiac rehabilitation program.

Findings: All women had difficulties recognizing their symptoms as heart disease and 35% reported they were initially misdiagnosed. In the post-diagnosis period, the experiences of older and younger women differed. For women over 60, maintaining their functional capacity, memory problems and a focus on resiliency were the main issues. For women under 60, emotionally focussed concerns were predominant. Both groups had to contend with over-protective family members.

Conclusions: These findings could contribute to the development of more effective public education campaigns. They also highlight the need for programs and research in the area of women’s heart health and rehabilitation that address emotional aspects of the illness.

Résumé

Objectif: Recenser l’expérience et les besoins des femmes souffrant de coronaropathie.

Méthodes: Recherche qualitative faisant appel à des groupes types et à la théorie empirique. Les femmes ont été recrutées parmi les anciennes patientes de l’Institut de cardiologie de l’université d’Ottawa et parmi les participantes au programme de réadaptation cardiaque de l’Institut de cardiologie.

Résultats: Toutes les femmes ont eu des difficultés à associer leurs symptômes avec une maladie du coeur; et 35 % ont indiqué qu’au départ, elles n’avaient pas reçu le bon diagnostic. Après le diagnostic, les femmes âgées n’ont pas ressenti les mêmes effets que les plus jeunes. Les femmes de 60 ans et plus qui sont restées actives se sont principalement plaintes de problèmes de mémoire et d’une préoccupation relativement à la récupération alors que les moins de 60 ans ont surtout signalé des préoccupations d’ordre émotionnel. Les deux groupes ont eu à faire face à des membres de la famille qui voulaient trop les protéger.

Conclusions: Ces conclusions permettront de mettre sur pied des campagnes d’éducation plus efficaces. Elles soulignent également la nécessité de lancer des programmes et des recherches dans le domaine de la santé et de la réadaptation cardiaque qui tiennent compte des aspects émotifs de la maladie chez les femmes.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean C. Murray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia O’Farrell
    • 1
  • Patricia Huston
    • 1
  1. 1.Prevention and Rehabilitation CentreUniversity of Ottawa Heart InstituteOttawaCanada

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