This study aimed to explore the experiences of individuals discussing sexual well-being with healthcare professions within the context of their cardiac illness to determine their sexual health information needs.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and known to have a detrimental impact on sexual health. Despite sexual health being recognised as a fundamental component of well-being, it may be a neglected aspect of care within the context of cardiovascular disease.
A qualitative exploratory study conducted in accordance with COREQ guidelines.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants (n = 13) aged between 30-77 years who had been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease. Data were transcribed and subject to thematic analysis.
Analysis revealed two major themes-Sexual healthcare information and expectations: I expect them to tell me and Experiences of sexual adversity: it’s really scary. Although participants expected and welcomed information in relation to their illness and sexual health, this was rarely received. Subsequently, when some participants experienced sexual adversity including erectile dysfunction, they felt anxious and distressed which impacted their intimated relationships. It was often when participants sought information associated with adversity that information was provided and this was primarily in relation to medication associated with assisting dysfunction.
Individuals who have cardiovascular disease may require sexual health care. Nurses are well placed to provide information and education associated with cardiovascular disease and associated sexual well-being to promote positive outcomes for individuals and minimise distress around sexual adversity.
Findings highlight the importance of providing clear and accurate information about sexual well-being and function to patients experiencing cardiovascular disease. Provision of information should be considered an essential and routine aspect of care with patients being afforded opportunities to discuss concerns associated with their sexual well-being.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.