Aortic stenosis (AS) is the most common valvular disease in western countries. Unless treated, it is associated with a poor prognosis. Surgical aortic valve replacement, the gold-standard approach, aims to increase survival and improve quality of life. In recent years, though, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has become the treatment of choice in elderly, high-risk patients who are denied open surgery. To date, however, little is known about their personal psychological experience after undergoing TAVI.
This study aimed to explore patients’ experiences during everyday life before and after TAVI.
Altogether, 14 elderly Swedish patients (9 women, 5 men), treated with TAVI, were interviewed between 2 and 6 months after the implantation. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Analysis of the participants’ experiences was divided into two domains: before and after, that is, life with AS vs. life after TAVI. From these domains, four categories were derived: (1) adapting to the deteriorating self; (2) feeling disconnected; (3) reconstruction of self; and (4) processing disappointment.
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation involves not only adding years to life but also adding life to years. The urge to live an autonomous life in a social context with others is an important argument for undergoing a TAVI procedure. Despite severe illness and demanding rehabilitation, elderly TAVI patients have the ability to regain independence and rebuild their lives when they base their decision to undergo TAVI on personal goals. These findings might be helpful when implementing person-centred care.

© 2020 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic College.