Managing cardiovascular risk factors after acute coronary syndrome: Rural perspectives

Anne Pistawka

Purpose: To explore the experiences of people living in rural communities in British Columbia after acute coronary syndrome in managing cardiac risk factors and adopting healthy lifestyle with limited rehabilitation support.

Methods: A qualitative, phenomenological approach utilized semi-structured interviews of eight rural participants. Thematic analysis was applied to the data to identify codes and develop themes.

Findings: ‘Managing through living’, ‘seeking trusted resources’, ‘collaborative health care relationships’, and ‘rural environment influences’ emerged as themes in the data. Participants’ valued ongoing collaborative care, sought trustworthy and relevant resources, and perceived their rural environments facilitated a healthy lifestyle.

Conclusions: The health and wellbeing of rural residents who have acute coronary syndrome may benefit from strategies that improve ongoing linkages with local and specialized health care teams, facilitate development of support groups, and offer resources more relevant to rural context. Further research to evaluate strategies targeting this population is recommended.