Patients' key experiences after coronary artery bypass grafting: a synthesis of qualitative studies

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Abstract

For patients 40 years and over, ischemic coronary heart diseases are the most common reasons for admittance in European and North American hospitals. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has proved to be the most effective treatment for ischemic coronary heart diseases when other treatments are ineffective. The aim of this article was through a synthesis to integrate and explore qualitative studies regarding patients' post-CABG experiences. Electronic searches were carried out in four databases using search terms for CABG combined with key search terms associated with qualitative research. Nineteen of 45 qualitative studies identified met the inclusion criteria. The included studies were appraised by a reading guide. Relevant findings where subsequently thematically analyzed in line with principles in qualitative descriptive research. The following key concepts described patients' experiences after CABG: The paradox of surviving alone with supportive relations, sense of self-disrupted, losses, fears and getting on with life. Thus, the synthesis revealed that patients' postoperative experiences influence their existential aspects of lifelong after surgery. Surprisingly, few studies treated suffering from postoperative pain as a specific topic. This underlines the need for more qualitative research exploring specific postsurgical experiences such as postoperative pain.

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