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Long-term psychosocial impact of venous thromboembolism: a qualitative study in the community
BMJ Open, Volume: 9, Issue: 2, Start page: e024805
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Objectives: Venous thromboembolism is a serious, potentially traumatic, life-threatening condition and a major cause of mortality and morbidity. The aim of this study was to obtain detailed understandings of the impact of VTE and examine individual’s experiences over the first year since a first tim...
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Objectives: Venous thromboembolism is a serious, potentially traumatic, life-threatening condition and a major cause of mortality and morbidity. The aim of this study was to obtain detailed understandings of the impact of VTE and examine individual’s experiences over the first year since a first time VTE.Design: A longitudinal qualitative interview study using inductive thematic analysis. This study presents follow-up data for eleven participants, first interviewed six months following a first-time VTE.Setting: Outpatients recruited a community haematology clinic in a one UK District General Hospital.Intervention: Audio-recorded semi-structured interviews with a sample of eleven participants who experienced a first-time DVT or PE within the previous year and completed similar interviews three months previously. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using inductive thematic analysis.Results: Four over-arching themes were identified: life changing and forever changed, the trauma of care, ‘thrombo-neuroses’ and through adversity comes growth. Theme content varied according to age and developmental stage, presence of VTE symptoms and the experience of diagnosis.Conclusions: The data demonstrates the psychosocial impact of VTE and its diagnosis as physically and psychologically challenging, and individuals reported being forever changed by the experience. Participants’ reported continued high levels of trauma and anxietysymptoms, triggered by physical (e.g. symptoms) and psychological (e.g. health anxiety,negative emotions) reminders of VTE. Wider primary care service issues includingmisdiagnosis maintained negative emotions and health anxiety with implications fo relationships with professionals. Targeted clinical interventions to better identify and supportindividuals at risk of distress and enhance psychological well-being and reduce distress arediscussed
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