Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the changes in perception of health status and quality of life from before treatment to 6 months after and the impact of uncertainty on these variables in survivors of life-threatening arrhythmia.
Design and setting: A descriptive correlational design at a large urban teaching hospital.
Measures: We measured health status, quality of life, and uncertainty before treatment and 6 months after a life-threatening arrhythmia.
Results: Survivors included 66 men and 15 women, 41 of whom received pharmacologic therapy and 36 of whom received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), completed the Medical Outcomes Survey (SF-36), Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index (QLI), and the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale (MUIS-C) before treatment and 6 months after. There were significant improvements in the mental and physical health composite summaries as measured by the SF36 (P <.01). Conversely, there were significant reductions in the overall score and specifically in socioeconomic and psychological/spiritual quality of life domains as measured by the QLI (P <.05). An increased perception of uncertainty was related to decreased perception of health status and quality of life at both measurement times, with higher correlations 6 months later.
Conclusions: Survivors demonstrated improvements in perceived health status, although this did not appear to translate into improvements in the subjective domains of quality of life. The overall quality of life and the domains of psychological/spiritual state and socioeconomic status were lower 6 months after a life-threatening arrhythmia. Uncertainty had a significant impact on these perceptions, identifying an area for nursing interventions.