The meaning of surviving three years after a heart transplant—a transition from uncertainty to acceptance through adaptation

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The rationale was to longitudinally follow-up interviews performed with heart recipients at their one-year examination in order to deepen the understanding of the meaning of surviving a heart transplant. The aim was to explore the meaning of surviving three years after a heart transplant compared to one year and to identify what constitutes the change process. A phenomenological–hermeneutic method was used. This multicenter study was carried out at the two hospitals in Sweden where heart transplants are performed. A total of 13 heart recipients who survived three years after a heart transplant were invited to participate in this three-year follow-up study and 12 accepted, 3 women and 9 men, with a mean age of 51.25 years. The naïve understanding revealed that the heart recipients strongly accepted their life situation and that time had enabled this acceptance of limitations through adaptation. The thematic structural analyses cover six themes illustrating the meaning of acceptance and adaptation, i.e., accepting life as it is, adapting to post-transplant limitations, adapting to a changed body, social adaptation, showing gratitude and trusting oneself and others. In conclusion, achieving acceptance and a solid sense of self-efficacy after heart transplantation is a time-consuming process that involves courage to face and accept the reality and adapt in every life dimension.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Blekinge Institute of Technology
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Göteborgs universitet

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Kardiologi


Sidor (från-till)1-11
Antal sidor11
TidskriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Utgåva nummer15
StatusPublished - 2020 aug 1
Peer review utfördJa