The concepts of expectation and satisfaction: do they capture the way patients evaluate their care?¶ The measurement of patient satisfaction has become a common way to elicit patients' views of their health care. However, difficulties arising from the limited theoretical underpinning of satisfaction, the difficulty in defining expectations and satisfaction and the methodological problems associated with their measurement have cast doubt on the validity of studies. This paper reviews the methodological and theoretical difficulties in measuring these concepts and argues that a better understanding of expectations and satisfaction, which is based in patient experience, must first be achieved before theoretical modelling and valid measurement can progress. It presents the findings of a study which attempted to clarify the concepts of expectations and satisfaction by exploring the experience of cardiac patients. The findings are discussed in the context of the key issues in this area.