‘Being’ a ventricular assist device recipient: A liminal existence

Standing, Holly, Rapley, Tim, MacGowan, Guy and Exley, Catherine (2017) ‘Being’ a ventricular assist device recipient: A liminal existence. Social Science & Medicine, 190. pp. 141-148. ISSN 0277-9536

Standing et al. 2017 SSM.pdf - Accepted Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.08.016


Ventricular assist devices (VADs) are playing an increasing role in the management of heart failure. VADs are mechanical circulatory devices that support or replace the function of a failing heart. Currently, VADs are only offered in the UK to patients waiting for a heart transplant; however, the use of these devices is likely to increase in the near future. Presently, there is a dearth of literature exploring the day-to-day realities of living with a VAD, which will become increasingly important as the role of VADs is increased.

This paper adopts an interpretive phenomenological approach to uncover the experience of ‘Being’ a VAD recipient. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 VAD recipients. The overarching theme is that life with a VAD is a liminal existence. This comprised four subthemes: the first examines how the VAD imposes limitations on recipients' lives that can precipitate a loss of identity; the second focuses on temporal disruptions, recipients' sense of time changes from authentic to inauthentic; the third explores how the VAD itself is liminal, it is positioned as temporary rather than as the ‘answer’ to the condition; and finally, we discuss VAD recipients' projections to the future and the possibility of an end to the experience of liminality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: United Kingdom, Ventricular assist device, Heart failure, Heart transplantation, Phenomenology, Liminality
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2017 08:36
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 09:51
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/31799

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