Stressors in open-heart surgery patients: A qualitative study.

Open-heart surgery is a stressful experience for patients and their families. From the moment that patients are told they must undergo surgery until discharge, they experience different degrees of worry and nervousness. This study was conducted with the aim of identifying stress factors in heart surgery patients.

This study was performed using a qualitative method on 21 participants (14 patients and 7 caregivers). The research environment was open-heart surgery wards of two educational hospitals in Ahwaz (south of Iran) in 2017. The participants were selected through purposive sampling. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews, and then analyzed using the qualitative approach of content analysis proposed by Graneheim and Lundmnan (2004).

The 5 themes of “physical stressors”, “self-care stressors”, “psychological stressors”, “religious stressors”, and “hospital stressors” were obtained. These themes were the result of the patients’ experiences and dimensions of patients’ perceptions regarding stressors in open-heart surgery.

Stress in patients undergoing open-heart surgery is a contextual and relative concept and a subjective experience, which is experienced as a sense of worry. Identifying and clarifying stressors in open-heart surgery patients for nurses is vital, like a key for improving care quality. Nursing managers in clinical practice can also benefit from these findings regarding heart surgery in improving the care quality and professional performance of nurses.

Heart surgery can be a scary journey, especially if you don’t know what to expect. This is why cardiothoracic surgeons work closely with patients before they have heart surgery. Education and expectation management is key to success. Whenever you do any kind of surgery it’s a stress on the whole body, especially when you’re sick with heart disease it really stresses the whole body.

Before a patient has heart surgery, doctors run a full series of tests to evaluate the patient’s overall health. If you have a problem with one organ it is a sign that there could be problems with other organs.

Doctors have designed a systematic approach to looking at the patient, from their medical history to their lifestyle, and examining all other organs preoperatively to make sure they are strong enough for surgery.

Delirium and confusion is common postoperatively. A lot of that has existed preoperatively but it hasn’t been uncovered and people are compensating for that. So if we feel there is someone who is at risk for that we have special mental mini status exams. 

If a patient shows a risk for postoperative confusion, doctors can adjust certain medications and warn the patient and family. Evaluating the entire patient before surgery ensures their safety during and after surgery. The ability to take care of patients in a more detailed way postoperatively has improved their outcomes.


Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


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