Life after a cardiac event: Women's experience in healing

Julie Fleury, L. Caitlin Kimbrell, Mary Anne Kruszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the experience of women's recovery after an acute cardiac event. Design: Grounded theory provided the methodologic basis for qualitative data generation and analysis. Sample: Thirteen women who had experienced an acute cardiac event. The participants' ages ranged from 42 to 78 with a mean age of 58 years. Four participants attended the group sessions after experiencing an acute myocardial infarction; five had undergone coronary artery bypass grafting; and two had undergone percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Two participants had undergone exercise testing that indicated myocardial ischemia. The time after the cardiac event ranged from 8 weeks to 3 years at the initation of the study, with a mean time after the cardiac event of 8 months. Results: Healing, the basic social process identified from the data, explained women's struggle through the uncertainty surrounding the cardiac event as a way of creating new and positive health patterns. The process of healing consisted of three stages: surviving, originating, and patterning balance. These stages of healing illustrated determinants of individual motivation that guided the initiation and maintenance of risk factor modification efforts in women after the cardiac event. Conclusions: Results of this study provide a basis for the development and evaluation of comprehensive rehabilitative interventions designed to enhance individual recovery after a cardiac event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-482
Number of pages9
JournalHeart and Lung - The Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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