Risk factors among people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and their thoughts about what lifestyle means to them: a mixed methods study
1 Department of Research, Norrbotten County Council, Luleå SE-971 89, Sweden
2 Department of Health Science, Division of Nursing, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå SE-971 87, Sweden
3 Department of Medicine, Sunderby Hospital, Luleå SE-971 80, Sweden
4 Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, University of Umeå, Umeå SE-901 87, Sweden
5 Department of Medicine, Skellefteå Hospital, Skellefteå SE-931 41, Sweden
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:62 doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-62Published: 27 August 2013
The known risk factors for coronary heart disease among people prior suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with validated myocardial infarction aetiology and their thoughts about what lifestyle means to them after surviving have rarely been described. Therefore the aim of the study was to describe risk factors and lifestyle among survivors.
An explanatory mixed methods design was used. All people registered in the Northern Sweden MONICA myocardial registry between the year 1989 to 2007 who survived out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with validated myocardial infarction aetiology and were alive at the 28th day after the onset of symptoms (n = 71) were included in the quantitative analysis. Thirteen of them participated in interviews conducted in 2011 and analysed via a qualitative manifest content analysis.
About 60% of the people had no history of ischemic heart disease before the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, but 20% had three cardiovascular risk factors (i.e., hypertension, diabetes mellitus, total cholesterol of more or equal 5 mmol/l or taking lipid lowering medication, and current smoker). Three categories (i.e., significance of lifestyle, modifying the lifestyle to the new life situation and a changed view on life) and seven sub-categories emerged from the qualitative analysis.
For many people out-of-hospital cardiac arrest was the first symptom of coronary heart disease. Interview participants were well informed about their cardiovascular risk factors and the benefits of risk factor treatment. In spite of that, some chose to ignore this knowledge to some extent and preferred to live a “good life”, where risk factor treatment played a minor part. The importance of the support of family members in terms of feeling happy and having fun was highlighted by the interview participants and expressed as being the meaning of lifestyle. Perhaps the person with illness together with health care workers should focus more on the meaningful and joyful things in life and try to adopt healthy behaviours linked to these things.