Researchers from Switzerland and the USA teamed up to explore the in-depth experiences of 24 couples to see whether the experience had changed their lives and their relationships.
“All the couples experienced a brush with death at the onset of the disease which called for changes in their lifestyle” says lead researcher Dr Romy Mahrer-Imhof, from the Institute of Nursing at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
“Three distinct patterns of dealing with the patient’s heart attack emerged. People either made positive changes to their lives, felt negative about the experience or tried to turn their lives around but failed.”
Nine couples reported that the heart attack was an important and necessary event which had brought them closer together and transformed their lives.
“He used to be a very normal person but then he became reserved” said one partner. “When he suffered the heart attack he emerged transformed. He is much more open, much more relaxed. Now we can speak together again. We have succeeded in turning our lives around.”
This particular couple had also made practical changes to their lives.
“For example, I don’t do the grocery shopping anymore” she adds. “He goes now with the bike – cycling is good for him and it brings him out from behind the computer.”
Ten couples said that they felt fearful and threatened by the fact that they had no control over an unpredictable future.
“The physician who tested me said my heart is not good” said one patient.” I could not understand it. Why did this happen to me? I was always careful to eat healthy food and I never smoked.”
“We are always a bit worried” added his wife. “We planned a trip, but now we have to let that go. I know I don’t need to be anxious, but it is hard to plan for the future when he is not healthy.”
The remaining five couples looked at various possibilities for positive change as the result of the heart attack. But they did not achieve them and felt that they had missed their chance to make things better.
One partner in her mid 60s talked about how she wanted her husband to take more exercise, work less and spend more time with her after his heart attack.
“Work and other things are much more important than that we spend time together” she said. “I have to rely on myself. I do not want to wait and be frustrated all the time. I could start nagging – how awful. So we live as we did before.”
The study focussed on patients who had been hospitalised in north-west Switzerland in the last year after an acute cardiac event, together with their partners. The patients had all attended a cardiac rehabilitation programme.
All the study couples had been in a stable relationship for at least a year and none had a coexisting terminal illness or mental disability or were receiving counselling at the time of the study.
83 per cent of the patients were married men, with an average age of 61, and their wives were slightly younger, with an average age of 58. Relationships ranged from four to 60 years, with a median of 35.
92 per cent had children and 50 per cent also had grandchildren.
The majority (92 per cent) had coronary heart disease and eight per cent had valve failure. 54 per cent received catheterisation, 38 per cent had surgery and eight per cent received other treatments.
The interviewers spoke to each couple together for about an hour and a half and followed this up with individual one-hour interviews with each of the 24 patients and their partners.
“Many patients, particularly women, don’t attend rehabilitation programmes and this is something that needs to be addressed during their stay in hospital” says Dr Mahrer-Imhof.
“Our findings also support arguments for increasing the involvement of couples in rehabilitation programmes so that support can be tailored to their own individual relationship.
“For example, counselling could provide these couples with more choices about how to negotiate more intimacy in a relationship in which each partner’s needs and wants are respected.
“Group session are also useful as they show people how other couples deal with similar situations, helping them to conquer fear and find new ways of living, despite the illness.”
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences