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J Nurs Manag. 2004 Jan;12(1):28-36.

Postponed or cancelled heart operations from the patient's perspective.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University Hospital of Lund, Lund, Sweden.



The aim was to describe postponements or complete cancellations of planned cardiac operations at a Swedish hospital during 1999 and the reception the patients received from the staff in connection with this, from the inpatient's perspective.


A qualitative descriptive design inspired by content analysis was used. Data were collected through questionnaires distributed to all 74 patients who had their heart operation cancelled.


During analysis of the questionnaires, five categories of answers emerged describing the patients' perception of: organization, medical aspects, information, waiting time and staff reception. Overall, the patients reacted negatively to the postponement/cancellation in the form of anxiety and disappointment and fear of being affected by cardiovascular problems, but were generally satisfied with reception received from hospital staff. A number of concerns were revealed, however, with possible practical implications for the health-care system.


An understanding of the disappointment and anxiety felt by patients because of the postponement/cancellation of heart surgery can help medical staff to improve the situation. An intervention program is suggested that includes a pre-admission clinic, a change in the planning and waiting list system and support via follow-up telephone calls or internet-based support system.

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