The Well-Being of Relatives of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: A Critical Incident Technique Analysis

Helena Ekblad*, 1, Dan Malm 1, 2, Bengt Fridlund 1, Lisa Conlon 1, Helén Rönning 1
1 School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden
2 Department of Internal Medicine, County Hospital Ryhov, Jönköping, Sweden

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1102
Abstract HTML Views: 443
PDF Downloads: 186
Total Views/Downloads: 1731
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 562
Abstract HTML Views: 295
PDF Downloads: 151
Total Views/Downloads: 1008

Creative Commons License
© Ekblad et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, P.O. Box 1026, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden; Tel: + 46 (0)36 10 10 56; Fax: +46 36 10 11 80; E-mail:



The well-being of relatives of patients having chronic heart diseases (CHD) has been found to be negatively affected by the patient’s condition. Studies examining relatives of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) indicate that their well-being may be affected in a similar manner, but further research is needed.


To explore and describe critical incidents in which relatives of patients experience how AF affects their well-being and what actions they take to handle these situations. Design and method: An explorative, descriptive design based on the critical incident technique (CIT) was used. Interviews were conducted with 19 relatives (14 women and five men) of patients hospitalised in southern Sweden due to acute symptoms of the AF.


The well-being of relatives was found to be affected by their worries (patient-related health), as well as the sacri-ficing of their own needs (self-related health). In handling their own well-being, these relatives adjusted to and supported the patient (practical involvement), along with adjusting their own feelings and responding to the mood of the patients (emotional involvement).


The well-being of relatives of patients with AF was affected depending on the patients’ well-being. In their attempt to handle their own well-being, the relatives adjusted to and supported the patients. Further research is needed in order to evaluate the effects of support to relatives and patients respectively and together.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, health, nursing, qualitative analysis, relatives.