Patients' Health Related Quality of Life After Coronary Revascularization: A Longitudinal Mixed Method Study
Aims: Coronary Revascularization (CR) has increased patients’ survival rate globally. However, the lack of a consensus definition of Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and the different methodological and conceptual approaches adopted by researchers in the cardio-revascularization field create an incomplete picture of the influence of CR on individuals’ HRQoL. By using mixed methodology, the current research aimed to explore Greek CHD patients’ perspectives of their HRQoL after CR (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) or Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI)), as well as detect and explain individual disparities. Method: Two studies were conducted with a total sample of 487 individuals: (1) The translation and validation of the Coronary Revascularization Outcome Questionnaire (CROQ) into Greek and (2) The longitudinal mixed methods study, the main study of the thesis, following a sequential explanatory design with two research components: a) the longitudinal quantitative component aimed to detect changes in patients’ HRQoL (both overall and its subdomains) following CR over a 12-month period based on individuals’ subjective evaluation as captured by the CROQ, detect the influence of CR type on the outcome and to explore potential predictors (individuals’ demographic, clinical and behavioural features). Data were analysed using multilevel modelling; b) the qualitative component aimed to capture individuals’ lived experience, their view and understanding of themselves and their life approximately 12 months after treatment using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results/findings: Based on participants’ subjective evaluations as captured by the validated Greek version of the CROQ, one year after CR Greek Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) patients experience an increase in their HRQoL level compared to prior to CR. The pattern of change though is not constant; initially HRQoL increases with time, and then decreases again, however, remaining much greater compared to prior to CR one year after CR. Regarding the influence of the CR type of treatment on patients’ HRQoL level, a year after CR mixed findings are revealed. In the symptoms and physical functioning subdomain, patients treated with CABG demonstrate a greater increase compared to patients treated with PCI. In the psychosocial functioning subdomain no difference is found. In the cognitive functioning subdomain, patients treated with CABG demonstrate a decline compared to their cognitive functioning prior to the CR. Various demographic, clinical and behavioural features are demonstrated to be predictors of the outcome though not consistent for all subdomains. The main predictors associated with larger positive changes following CR seem to be sex, BMI and smoking; females with low BMI that do not smoke tend to demonstrate a greater increase in HRQoL after CR. According to individuals’ lived experience, participants, reflecting on their experience one year after treatment, perceive CR as a simple process and their negative experience is mostly related to medical care. Many participants with no symptoms or adverse effects tend to misperceive CHD, viewing their health condition as an acute disease treated with CR. Trying to understand disease causality they tend to adopt medical discourse especially in relation to stress as a factor that can be controlled by themselves and reflect on their own responsibility as a causal factor. Feeling grateful for being alive, sensing a different body, a “revitalized body” as many participants suggest, as well as a fear of re-occurrence or disease progression motivate individuals to work on aspects of the self related to the CHD development in an effort to regain control over their life which has been reduced after the CHD diagnosis. In effect a dramatic change in how the self and life are viewed is reported, highlighting a positive growth; a greater appreciation of life, a personal growth and effort to build more meaningful relationships. Challenges that participants face in modification of their lifestyle are attributed to both external and internal factors. Concerning smoking participants’ accounts point to a lack of knowledge regarding the relationship between smoking and CHD, a lack of support (by experts or family members) and conscious denial as a way to cope with every day anxiety and stress, but also a pleasure in everyday life. The findings provide a complementary insight into perceptions of individuals with CHD about their quality of life one year after CR, suggesting that other factors beyond CR may influence their perspectives. Conclusions/implications: This study highlights the benefits of using a mixed methods longitudinal design in exploring HRQoL. Both the quantitative and qualitative findings support the notion that HRQoL is a multidimensional, continuously changing concept, providing support for the Wold Health Organization’s definition. Also, the findings suggest that CR has a positive influence on individuals’ HRQoL. The effect of the CR type needs further investigation as mixed findings are observed in the present thesis. Moreover, it seems difficult to investigate the pure effect of CR on individuals’ HRQoL without taking into consideration individuals’ adjustment processes and positive growth triggered by the CR. The self regulation model (SRM) might be considered a useful theoretical framework for developing theory-based interventions aiming to alter patients’ false beliefs since individuals’ making-meaning process seems to be aligned with it. Finally, the complementary insights concerning smoking may help health care providers to develop smoking cessation interventions tailored to cardiac patients.