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Patient perspectives of participating in the cardiac CopenHeartRFA rehabilitation program for patients treated with ablation for atrial fibrillation

Authors Risom SS, Lind J, McCabe PJ, Berg SK

Received 29 September 2017

Accepted for publication 30 November 2017

Published 5 March 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 167—174


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Signe S Risom,1,2 Johanne Lind,2 Pamela J McCabe,3 Selina Kikkenborg Berg1,4,5

1The Heart Centre, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2Department of Nursing, Metropolitan University College, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA; 4Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; 5National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

Purpose: The CopenHeartRFA trial was designed and conducted to explore the effects of rehabilitation on patients treated with ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). It included a cardiac rehabilitation program consisting of physical exercise and psychoeducational consultations over 6 months. As part of the evaluation of the CopenHeartRFA trial, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The intervention was delivered by a multidisciplinary team.
Aim: This study aimed to understand the experience of patients treated for AF with ablation who participated in the CopenHeartRFA cardiac rehabilitation program.
Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was used. A purposive sample of 10 patients who had completed the intervention consented to participate. The interviews were conducted face-to-face and were audio-recorded and transcribed. Qualitative content analyses were used to analyze the data. The interviews were analyzed individually by two researchers and themes were constructed and discussed.
The sample included 10 participants, mean age 54.6 years. Four categories were identified and labeled: 1) strengthening belief in one’s own physical capacity and survival; 2) still struggling with fear of AF symptoms; 3) a need for support to move on; and 4) regaining confidence in one’s own mental strength with support from professionals.
Conclusion: The four themes describe a positive experience from participating in the rehabilitation program. The rehabilitation program promoted self-efficacy for engaging in physical activity and the benefit of a safe environment for processing the emotional responses and the value of the therapeutic relationship between the patient and the rehabilitation provider.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation, rehabilitation, qualitative research

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