The Metamorphosis, struggling to adapt to a new condition. The lived experience of patients with Thrombotic microangiopathies diagnosed in the ICU. A qualitative study

J Crit Care. 2023 Dec:78:154366. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2023.154366. Epub 2023 Jul 13.


Background: Using qualitative interviews, our objective was to better understand the experience of patients with Thrombotic microangiopathies (TMA), from discovering their disease in the ICU to the psychological, emotional, and social specifics of living with this rare disorder.

Material and methods: Patients were recruited at seven TMA centers belonging to the French national TMA referral network. A total of 15 patients, 15 relatives and 12 healthcare professionals participated. A majority of patients (n = 11/15) were women, median age was 41 (range 29-62) years, and median time elapsed since diagnosis was 6 (range 2-11) years. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: We derived 3 major themes from qualitative analysis: 1) Discovering TMA: experiencing a life-threatening emergency with open eyes; 2) TMA: a complex and diverse disease and care plan; 3) Living with TMA: taming fear and loneliness.

Conclusions: Patients with TMA share common experiences with patients with other rare diseases, but also specific experiences related to their illness. Improved information at the onset and during the course of the illness, associated with enhanced care coordination plans would help TMA patients better cope with their illness and adhere to their care projects.

Keywords: Intensive care; Patient experience; Qualitative study; Thrombotic microangiopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies* / diagnosis