From Suspicion to Recognition—Being a Bystander to a Relative Affected by Acute Coronary Syndrome

Lene Søndergaard Andersen, Vibeke Lorenzen, Kirsten Beedholm

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Within cardiac research, an overwhelming number of studies have explored factors related to pre-hospital delay. However, there is a knowledge gap in studies that explore the bystander’s experiences or significance when an individual is affected by acute coronary syndrome (ACS). We conducted an interview study with 17 individuals affected by ACS and the bystander(s) involved and performed a qualitative thematic analysis. In the pre-hospital phase, the bystander moved from suspicion of illness to recognition of illness while trying to convince the individual affected by ACS (p-ACS) to respond to bodily sensations. This led to conflicts and dilemmas which affected the bystander both before and after the p-ACS was hospitalized. Bystanders may influence pre-hospital delay in both positive and negative direction depending on their own knowledge, convictions, and the nature of their interaction with the p-ACSs. The bystander’s influence during the pre-hospital delay is more extensive than previously recognized.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • acute coronary syndrome
  • bystander
  • pre-hospital delay
  • qualitative interview study


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