Acute myocardial infarction: A descriptive study of the experience

Nancy Diane Blasdell, University of Rhode Island


The life threatening nature of an acute myocardial infarction has been well established and well known among health professionals and the general public for at least 40 years. In 2007, it is estimated that 700,000 Americans will suffer an acute myocardial infarction (2007 American Heart Association Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update). ^ Although there is a considerable amount of literature on the acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the primary focus has been on the medical treatment and nursing care and a far less extent on the patient experience as seen from the perspective of the patient. Recently, there has been an attempt to investigate the experience from the patient's perspective. However, most of the emphasis has been placed on either acute hospitalization or cardiac rehabilitation. ^ In the present study, an inductive qualitative study was conducted to gain a comprehensive description of the first uncomplicated AMI experience of six participants from the onset of symptoms through the completion or near completion of a cardiac rehabilitation program. The participants were identified using a convenience sample which included four men and two women, Caucasian, from 46-79 years of age, and all were Roman Catholic. ^ Using Gorden's method (1987), each participant was interviewed twice. The cardiac rehabilitation time frame was chosen to conduct the interview in order for the participants to have time to reflect on the experience. All interviews for each participant were conducted separately before moving on to the next participant in order to capture the fullest and most detailed description as possible from the participant's perspective. ^ The results of the study revealed that the participants had similarities regarding their AMI experience. These included: the discomfort they encountered on onset, feeling hurried and rushed in the emergency room, and the disillusionment of being diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction. In addition, all of the participants had support systems which helped them through the traumatic event. This study represents a preliminary step towards understanding how the acute myocardial infarction is perceived by the patient over the entire course of time. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nursing

Recommended Citation

Nancy Diane Blasdell, "Acute myocardial infarction: A descriptive study of the experience" (2007). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3276973.