Treatment decision-making during the early stages of heart attack: A case for the role of body and self in influencing delays

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    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A majority of individuals with the symptoms of heart attack (or myocardial infarction) delay for significant periods before seeking medical assistance. These delays are often lengthy and adversely affect mortality by compromising the efficacy of thrombolytic therapy. This qualitative study examined prehospital decision-making retrospectively in a sample of Scottish myocardial infarction (MI) patients (n = 14). From interviews with participants 48 hours after admittance to hospital, decision making was interpreted as following a five-stage pattern. The phases were: Experiencing symptoms as familiar sensations, moving from the everyday, responding to breakdown, increasing crisis and decisions and dialogue. Throughout these phases, participants drew on aspects of the body, self and society in order to understand and react to what was happening to them. Phenomenologically, echoing movements associated with chronic illness, participants experienced the body and self differently during the different stages of decision making. Their decision making was influenced by their views of the self, interpretations of the body and the symptoms of MI and conceptions of personal and general risk.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)425-446
    Number of pages22
    JournalSociology of Health and Illness
    Volume23
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul. 2001

    Keywords

    • Acute
    • Emergency
    • Heart attack
    • Help
    • Myocardial infarction
    • Thrombolysis

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