• content analysis;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • recovery

Myocardial infarction (MI) is a traumatic health event and at the same time a transition of vital importance in human life. The purpose of this study was to elucidate recovery patterns after myocardial infarction with regard to the content of patients' experiences. The study used a descriptive design and a qualitative method. Interviews with 16 men and women were performed, and data were subjected to a thematic content analysis. The recovery process had a pattern of ability, restraints, and reorientation. Through self-help and help from others, the mutual sharing of burdens, and clarifying restraints to recovery, the recovery process progressed toward reorientation. New values and motivation for change, as well as a new balance within the self and relationships were found. The MI had been integrated into life and, through the recovery process, patients' attitudes were better focused, leading to an enhanced quality of life.