The Impact of Illness Perception on Delay in Seeking Medical Help in Patients with Acute Chest Pain: A Cross-sectional Study in the United Arab Emirates

The Open Nursing Journal 10 Apr 2023 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18744346-v17-e230407-2022-181



The concern of contracting COVID-19 has prevented numerous individuals with ambiguous myocardial infarction symptoms from seeking medical attention, leading to delayed presentation and treatment of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). This delay could increase the risk of long-term consequences.


The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of illness perception on delay in seeking medical help in patients with acute chest pain in UAE during COVID-19 pandemic.


A descriptive cross-sectional design was used.


A total of 222 in-patients participated in the study, with an average age of 54.3 years (SD=14, Range= 20-86). The average score of illness perception was 5.66 (SD=0.92), which indicates that CVD was perceived as moderately threatening to physical and emotional status. Univariate analysis showed that illness coherence having previous cardiac catheterization, diabetes and asthma were factors associated with delay in seeking medical services. The linear regression showed that college education was a strong predictor of delay, while a history of asthma and undergoing cardiac catheterization were independent predictors of shorter delay.


Illness coherence perception and time of seeking medical help are correlated. In addition, illness perception of personal control is low, which indicates the need for educational intervention. Other clinical factors also impact patients’ decisions, such as previous cardiac intervention and comorbidity, highlighting the target group for further attention from the healthcare team.

Keywords: Acute chest pain, Illness perception, Delay in seeking medical service, COVID-19, ACS, Patients.
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