The trajectory to diagnosis with pulmonary arterial hypertension: a qualitative study

Armstrong, I, Rochnia, NK, Harries, C, Bundock, S and Yorke, J 2012, 'The trajectory to diagnosis with pulmonary arterial hypertension: a qualitative study' , BMJ Open, 2 (2) , e000806.

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Objectives To investigate the patient's experience of the trajectory to receiving a diagnosis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and inform the provision of care for this patient group. Design Qualitative study using in-depth one-to-one interviews and pictorial representations. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Setting Participants were interviewed in their own homes across England. Participants 30 patients with a diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (18 participants were women, mean age 56 and range 26-80 02years and time since diagnosis ranged from a few months to more than 12 02years) participated. Results All participants, regardless of the time since diagnosis, vividly described the process from manifestation of symptoms to receiving a confirmed diagnosis. The authors present data using three major themes: (i) making sense of symptoms, (ii) process of elimination and (iii) being diagnosed with PAH. Making sense of symptoms represented an early period of perseverance 14people tried to carry-on as usual despite 18unexplained breathlessness 19. As time progressed, this period was punctuated by critical events that triggered seeking medical advice. Once medical contact had been made, patients described a period of 18elimination 19 and convoluted contact with the medical profession. Dyspnoea misdiagnosis was a key factor that delayed the PAH diagnosis. Diagnosis disclosure by some medical professionals was also viewed as lacking empathy. More positive experiences were relayed when the medical team disclosing the diagnosis acknowledged previous limitations. Conclusions A lack of awareness of this illness from both the sufferer themselves and the medical profession emerged as a central theme and led to prolonged periods of being misdiagnosed. The application of a diagnostic pathway for unexplained dyspnoea that alerts practitioners to rare conditions could expedite the process of correct diagnosis.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: BMJ Open
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 2044-6055
Depositing User: JC Potter
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2012 01:38
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 14:21

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