The Experience of the COVID Pandemic for People with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) in the U.K.

Prof Doc Thesis

Russ, C. 2022. The Experience of the COVID Pandemic for People with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) in the U.K. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRuss, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, referred to as COVID-19 in this paper) is a novel coronavirus first discovered in Wuhan, China (Tan & Aboulhosn, 2020). Since it’s discovery it has spread across the world and as of 8th May there have been 156,496,592 confirmed cases of COVID around the world with 3,264,142 confirmed deaths (WHO, 2021). Current literature suggests the pandemic and subsequent government responses have had a significant impact on the global population with rises in mental health difficulties, poorer physical health, relationship difficulties and changes to people’s work lives. Despite an awareness of people with chronic illnesses being at greater risk of severe illness and death from covid-19, there is minimal research on how the pandemic has impacted this group, and even less on how it has affected people with specific types of chronic illness such as epilepsy or congenital heart disease (CHD).
Due to these identified gaps in the literature, this study focussed on the experiences of people with CHD during the pandemic in the U.K. Informed by critical realist epistemology and using qualitative methodology nine participants took part in semi-structured interviews to gather information on how their lives had been impacted by the current pandemic. Ages ranged from 32 to 54 years and the sample consisted of seven women and two men.
Using inductive thematic analysis three themes were constructed from the data; ‘vulnerability’, ‘wellbeing’ and ‘staying connected’. Similarly, to existing research, participants identified difficulties in their mental wellbeing, changes in their physical health and difficulties in relationships and work. Difficulties experienced by being labelled as vulnerable, being in the shielding group or not, narratives from others as ‘burdensome’ and significant lifestyle changes were raised and add to the existing literature. Recommendations for further research and improvements to government policy and guidelines are made.

Keywordscovid-19; chronic illness; CHD
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online23 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Submitted19 Sep 2022
Deposited24 Jan 2023
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