Aim: The aim of this qualitative study was to explore and gain insights into the effects of myocardial infarction on health-related quality of life.
Background: The study was undertaken as part of a larger on-going project to develop and validate a disease-specific health-related quality of life instrument suitable for use with patients after myocardial infarction.
Methods: A consecutive sample of 31 patients admitted to a district general hospital in the North of England was recruited and interviewed at home. Semi-structured interviews were conducted based on a guide developed from a review of the literature pertaining to quality of life and expert opinion. Interviews were audio-tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were subjected to latent and manifest content analysis and inter-rater reliability was confirmed by a researcher not involved with the interview process.
Findings: Analysis of the data revealed seven major categories: physical activity/symptoms; insecurity; emotional reactions; dependency; lifestyle modification; concern over medication; and side-effects. Breathlessness, insecurity and feelings of over-protection were major problems, as was dissatisfaction with information and support.
Conclusion: Myocardial infarction resulted in a variety of health-related problems which affected quality of life. Systematic monitoring and evaluation of health status should be performed routinely. This is likely to be aided by the development and use of a health-related quality of life instrument for this patient group.