Cohort study following VTE: A quantitative longitudinal study of patients from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Cardiff and Vale UHB is on-going. It is measuring levels of distress (mood, PTSD, health anxiety) and their predictors (including illness and treatment beliefs, peri-traumatic symptoms, and on-going health concerns). Measures are taken as participants attend their first out-patient appointment following hospital discharge and six months later.
Developing a psychological intervention to help people following VTE: We are presently developing and piloting a self-help intervention to help people following VTE. Our qualitative research identified that many people felt they lacked information about VTE and its treatment, and experienced significant health anxiety following the event. Our intervention therefore provides information about VTE, its treatment and some simple strategies for dealing with any anxiety or worries individuals may experience. It is presently being piloted, and we intend to modify and test a revised version in a fully powered randomised controlled trial. The intervention in its early stage is available to download from the website.
Whether you are a health professional or person who has experienced a VTE, we would be happy for you to download the intervention and use it (we ask for a few details about yourself before you can access it). If you have any comments about the intervention we would also be grateful, and may be guided by them while we develop its revised version.
1. A qualitative study of the experiences of young women who have a VTE.
2. A series of studies examining cognitive processes involved in the development and maintenance of health anxiety following VTE. This will involve a number of survey and experimental methods including eye tracking, dot probe tasks, and lexical decision tasks.
Previous projects and papers
Quantitative study of prevalence and predictors of health anxiety and PTSD: This study was hosted by the Thrombosis UK (previously Lifeblood) website. Over 150 people took part in the study which examined the prevalence and predictors of emotional distress in people who had experienced VTE. Highlights of the study were findings that 44% of the respondents scored above the cut-off scores for clinical levels of either health anxiety and PTSD. Of note was that levels of distress were equal in people who had experienced a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. The study also examined predictors of both health anxiety and PTSD, including health beliefs and threat appraisal at the time of the event and subsequent to it.
Qualitative study of the experience following pulmonary embolism: This study was the first qualitative study we are aware of to consider the long-term impact of pulmonary embolism on everyday life and to consider its potentially traumatic consequences. It comprised a series of interviews conducted with patients who had experienced a pulmonary embolism between nine and 60 months prior to interview. They described having a PE as a life-changing experience comprising initial shock, followed by feeling of loss of self, life-changing decisions and behaviour modification. Features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were described with flashbacks, hypervigilance and intrusive thoughts being most prevalent. Participants identified several areas of support needed for such patients including easier access to support through information giving and emotional support.
Qualitative cohort study of VTE patients: Following from our first qualitative study, this study followed a more representative cohort of patients, with interviews being conducted within the first six months of a VTE. A follow-up paper, involving interviews with the same patients six months later is in preparation. Four key themes with 10 sub-themes were identified. The major themes were: VTE as life changing and traumatic; living with uncertainty and fear of reoccurrence; feeling let down by health services; positive changes and outcomes. The content of themes varied according to age at time of VTE and participants’ experiences of diagnosis and treatment. Young people experienced particular problems as they had long term health concerns, few people with whom they could confide and significant concerns about the future.
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