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Middle-aged people with chronic heart failure experienced the frustrations of living with an unpredictable and failing body

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L Nordgren

Correspondence to: Ms L Nordgren, Växjö University, Växjö, Sweden; [email protected]

QUESTION

What are the experiences of middle-aged people living with chronic heart failure?

DESIGN

Qualitative study using a life-world perspective approach founded on phenomenological tradition.

SETTING

Heart failure clinic in a hospital in Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS

7 middle-aged individuals (4 men and 3 women) who were 38–66 years of age, had a diagnosis of moderate to severe heart failure, and had been admitted to hospital for heart failure at least once during the past year. Only 1 participant was still working.

METHODS

Participants were interviewed at home or at a location of their choosing. The interviews, which lasted 1–2 hours, were recorded and transcribed and then analysed for patterns and clusters of meanings that constituted the essence of the phenomenon of living with heart failure.

MAIN FINDINGS

To middle-aged people living with heart failure, the key features were an unpredictable and failing body, an altered self-image, a rapidly changing health …

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