Article

From hope and expectation to unexpected death after cardiac surgery.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Lund University Hospital, Sweden.
Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 09/2008; 24(4):242-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2008.02.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Relatives of patients undergoing cardiac surgery expect successful outcome but sometimes complications cause death. The aim was to interview relatives of patients who have died in connection with cardiac surgery and describe their experiences of information, reception and care.
Data were obtained from semi-structured interviews with 18 relatives of deceased patients and then analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Two main groups emerged: "Analysing the situation" with the sub-groups: knowledge of cardiac disease, the road to operation, hope and despair, information and choice and "The thin thread of life" with the sub-groups, reception, life is over, care, death as a relief, cause of death and support.
Most relatives were satisfied with the information and care in connection with the operation and at the end of life. However, some aspects such as inadequate pain control and transportation of critically ill patients to other wards and hospitals could be improved. One way is to introduce a co-ordinator in order to better support patients, next of kin and colleagues without experience of cardio-thoracic surgery who need help during the patients' way from diagnosis and acceptance of cardiac surgery and through the treatment and postoperative care.

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