Women and heart attack: a study of women's experiences.
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Cardiovascular disease in general, and myocardial infarction (MI) in particular, is the major health problem of females after 50 years of age. To date, heart disease research has focused primarily on males. The limited evidence suggests that the physical, psychological, and social ramifications of MI for women are significant, and different from those of men. Since the specific rehabilitation needs of women are not yet clear, this study was designed to explore the unique experiences and needs of women following a first MI. A phenomenological study using focus groups was used to explore the experiences, questions, concerns, and preferred interventions of women after a MI. Participants were female volunteers (n = 14) who had been hospitalized for a MI within the previous 6 months. Focus groups were audio taped and analysed by the investigators. Four major themes emerged: validation; perceived gender differences; role expectations/role tensions; and helps and hindrances to recovery.
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