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Published: 2024-05-21

Important with individual care for atrial fibrillation

NEWS The experiences and consequences of atrial fibrillation for those affected differ. Therefore, it is important that the care of these patients is based on each individual's unique situation and needs. This is a conclusion in a thesis at Umeå University.

"In my thesis, I have studied people affected by atrial fibrillation, using interviews and questionnaires. In the interviews, it emerges that the experiences of atrial fibrillation vary. For many, this meant changes in their lives where they had to learn to deal with symptoms as a result of atrial fibrillation, as well as anxiety and a changed self-image. Some did not feel involved in their care and lacked continuity and someone to turn to with questions and for support," says Lena Holmlund, Department of Nursing.

The questionnaire studies include health-related quality of life and how patients perceive the disease. The women reported worse health-related quality of life and lower belief in being able to control the disease than the men.

"Even the duration of diagnosis turned out to have an impact on a number of factors. Those who were more newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation reported a greater belief that the disease was temporary and controllable than those with a longer diagnosis.”

Over time (6 months), the newly diagnosed patients reported improved health-related quality of life and reduced symptom burden, while there were no changes for those who had lived with the diagnosis longer. The results of the thesis also show that there is a link between poorer health-related quality of life and negative perceptions of the disease. Those who attributed more symptoms and greater consequences to atrial fibrillation and had negative emotions about the disease reported poorer health-related quality of life.

Improved care for patients with atrial fibrillation has been requested. As part of this, a nurse-led, person-centred atrial fibrillation clinic was started in 2019 at the Cardiovascular clinic.

"In the last study of the thesis, this clinic has been evaluated. The results suggest that support from the nurse-led person-centred clinic can reduce patients' negative emotions and concerns attributed to atrial fibrillation and strengthen their belief in being able to control the disease," says Lena Holmlund.

Lena Holmlund graduated as a registered nurse in 1989. She holds a position at the Cardiovascular clinic, Heart Center, Norrland University Hospital in Umeå, and is a doctoral student at the Department of Nursing, Umeå University.

On Friday, 24 May, Lena Holmlund, Department of Nursing at Umeå University, will defend her dissertation titled Patients' experiences of atrial fibrillation and evaluation of a nurse-led person-centred clinic. The dissertation will take place at 09.00 in Aula Biologica, Biology Building. Opponent is Professor Jan Mårtensson, Department of Nursing, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Jönköping.

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