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Spouses of patients with coronary heart disease had varied perceptions about its aetiology and drug treatment

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Q What are the perceptions (or conceptions) of spouses of patients who have had a cardiac event regarding the causes of coronary heart disease (CHD) and effects of drug treatment?


Qualitative study using an empirical and inductive approach.


Norrköping and Jönköping in southeast Sweden.


25 spouses (mean age 55 y, 68% women) who were living with a partner who had had a cardiac event about 1 year earlier. 18 patients had had a myocardial infarction (MI), and 19 had received revascularisation. 12 spouses were working, 2 were unemployed, 10 were retired, and 1 was a student.


Data were collected using semistructured interviews that lasted 60–90 minutes and focused on spouses’ conceptions about 5 domains related to possible causes of CHD: physical activity, diet, stress, smoking, and drug treatment.


Conceptions concerning causes of CHD. All spouses regarded physical exercise as a positive factor in the rehabilitation of patients with CHD. However, most did not mention inactivity as a cause …

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  • For correspondence: Ms A Kärner, Department for Welfare and Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.

  • Source of funding: County of Östergötland; Vardal Foundation; Swedish Heart and Lung Association.