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Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2008 Jun;24(3):171-9. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2007.12.004. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

A qualitative study into the lived experience of post-CABG patients during mechanical ventilator weaning.

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  • 1The Heart Centre, Rigshospitalet, Department 4142, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark.



Research into mechanical ventilator weaning has predominantly been devoted to analysis and evaluation of predictors of weaning success. Few studies have examined the patient experience of weaning. The aim of this study was to provide a contemporary description of the patient experience of weaning, in order to up-date this aspect of knowledge in the context of newer modalities of mechanical ventilation and sedation.


The study had a descriptive qualitative design focusing on the lived experience of post-CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) patients ventilated > or = 24h (n=10). Data were generated using semi-structured depth interviews conducted 2-5 months after hospital discharge. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to analyze the data.


The article presents selected themes that emerged during the process of analysis. The main findings relate to general phenomena such as discomfort and impaired communication, psychological phenomena such as loss of control and loneliness, and existential phenomena such as temporality and human interaction.


Newer modalities of sedation and mechanical ventilation have not entirely eliminated the discomforts of critical illness; the human aspects of suffering remain. In order to address some of the general, psychological, and existential patient experiences, care should be taken to acknowledge the patient and to respect the patient domain and individual time frames. In nurse-patient communication, it is recommended that caregivers give accurate and unambiguous information.

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