Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) influences the lives of patients in the form of worsened well-being. Patients' own experience of and how to handle AF is rarely investigated. These are important aspects for healthcare services to understand in order to support the well-being of patients with AF.
Aim: To explore and describe critical incidents in which patients experience how AF affects their well-being and what actions they take to prevent and handle it.
Design and methods: An explorative, descriptive design based on the critical incident technique (CIT) was used. Interviews were conducted with 25 patients (16 men and 9 women) with AF in a healthcare area in southern Sweden.
Results: Patients experienced discomfort and limitations in daily life. The actions they took were self-care related actions and healthcare related actions.
Conclusion: AF affects well-being when it is uncomfortable and leads to pronounced limitations in daily life with the patients trying to maintain or restore well-being through adapting and developing strategies for self-care. Patients base the handling of AF on their personal experience.