The personal experience of living with chronic heart failure: a qualitative meta-synthesis of the literature
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
To determine, from a systematic literature review, the experience of living with heart failure and to propose some practice guidelines and research questions.
Chronic heart failure has been one of the fastest growing illnesses in recent decades, with almost 23 million people affected worldwide. This complex syndrome has multiple causes and appears when underlying heart disease is advanced. Currently, heart failure has no cure and leads to a significant deterioration in patients' quality of life.
A qualitative meta-synthesis was conducted to extract and analyse qualitative research from the Cochrane, PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Cuiden databases. Snowball sampling and a manual search were performed to identify other relevant studies.
Twenty-five qualitative studies were selected. The findings indicate that there are three main themes that describe the phenomenon. The first theme refers to the experiences related to the beginning of the process. The second theme is connected with the effects on the person: physical, emotional, social and spiritual changes. The third theme is linked with how to live with heart failure despite the illness, including the adjustment and coping process and how external resources can help them to manage.
Heart failure has a major impact on the entire person, but some areas have not been addressed. By creating new tools to underst [...]