Aim: To describe partners' experiences of living with men with a screening-detected abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Background: Diagnosis of a chronic life-threatening disease affects the patients' as well as their partners' lives in different aspects. AAA, with rupture as the major consequence, is a life-threatening disease that can affect the whole family. Screening programmes for AAA have been introduced in several countries to reduce the mortality rate. Although the awareness of having an AAA influences the individuals' quality of life and well-being, it is still unclear how it affects their partners. Design: Qualitative descriptive design. Methods: Twenty-one partners of men with AAA were purposely selected to participate in individual semi-structured interviews between August 2017–February 2018 in Sweden. Data were transcribed and imported into NVivo-12®. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The study conforms to the COREQ checklist. Results: Three categories were identified: (a) experiencing the unexpected; (b) being reminded of fragility; and (c) balancing a changing relationship. The partners had a positive attitude towards the screening process and were pleased that their husbands were under surveillance. Nevertheless, at the same time, the diagnosis caused worries and questions. The AAA diagnosis was constantly in the minds of the partners, which sometimes affected and limited daily activities. Furthermore, ambivalent feelings towards surgical treatment were described. The partners tried to support their men and encouraged them to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Conclusion: The partners' well-being and daily lives were impacted by the awareness of the screening-detected AAA. Different degrees of worry were the most common reaction and were pervasive in all three categories. Relevance for clinical practice: The result highlights the need to review routines or develop new strategies to include the partners in the process of screening and offer supplementary support and information.
- abdominal aortic aneurysm
ASJC Scopus subject areas