Objective To identify, the themes that influence decision making processes used by patients with symptoms of acute myocardial infarction. Design Qualitative study using semistructured interviews. Setting Two district hospitals in North Yorkshire. Participants 22 patients admitted to hospital with confirmed second, third, or fourth acute myocardial infarction. Main outcome measure Patients' perceptions of their experience between the onset of symptoms and the decision to seek medical help. Results Six main themes that influence the decision making process were identified: appraisal of In symptoms, perceived risk, previous experience, psychological and emotional factors, use of the NHS, and context of the event. Conclusions Knowledge of symptoms may not be enough to promote prompt action in the event of an acute myocardial infarction. Cognitive and emotional processes, individual beliefs and values, and the influence of the context of the event should also be considered in individual interventions designed to reduce delay in the event of symptoms of acute myocardial infarction
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