Long-term survivors of cardiac arrest: A narrative inquiry

Gunilla Haydon, Pamela van der Riet, Kerry Inder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite extensive knowledge and research in cardiac health there is limited understanding in how a cardiac arrest influences the life of long-term survivors.
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore how long-term survivors of a cardiac arrest adjusted to their new reality, expressed in their re-storied narratives.
Methods: Seven individuals surviving a cardiac arrest 5–26 years ago were interviewed through in-depth conversations over a six-month period. These interviews were analysed using Clandinin and Connelly’s framework of narrative inquiry.
Results: Seven threads were found: Disbelief, Surveillance of their body, Loss of control and desire for normality, Keeping fit and informing others, Gratefulness, Spirituality – luck and fate, and Fragility of life and dying.
Conclusions: All seven long-term survivors of cardiac arrest expressed a positive attitude. Despite the nature of the cardiac arrest and the hurdles that followed, they have a heightened appreciation for life. This indicates that after the adaptation to their new reality of being a cardiac arrest survivor life returns to a new normality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2019


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