A cross-sectional examination of changes in anxiety early after acute myocardial infarction

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Heart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care, 2004, 33 (2), pp. 75 - 82
Issue Date:
2004-03-01
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Background Anxiety is common after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The assessment and treatment of anxiety early after AMI is important, because anxiety is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Few data exist about anxiety early after AMI, the time when anxiety likely peaks. Furthermore, no researchers have evaluated potential gender differences in the evolution of anxiety after AMI. Objectives The purpose of this study was to investigate the evolution of anxiety during the first 72 hours of hospitalization for AMI and to examine whether there is a gender difference in the pattern of anxiety early after AMI, from cross-sectional data. Methods In this cross-sectional study, 486 patients with AMI were recruited from 4 urban university medical centers and 2 private hospitals in the United States and 1 large university teaching hospital in Australia. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was used to measure anxiety once in each patient within 72 hours of the patient's admission to the hospital. Patients were divided into 6 groups based on the time interval in which they were interviewed. Results The mean score of state anxiety was 39 ± 13. Peak anxiety occurred within the first 12 hours after AMI (P < .05) and anxiety level differed among the time intervals (F [5, 474] = 4.55, P < .001). There was a main effect of gender on anxiety (F [1, 474] = 11.86, P < .001). Women reported higher anxiety than men at all time points except the time interval of 24.1 to 36 hours after AMI. Conclusion Prospective, longitudinal, repeated measures research is needed to confirm the trajectory of anxiety in AMI patients, but data from this study suggest that anxiety should be assessed and treated in the early stages of AMI to prevent potential complications that may be exacerbated by anxiety and to provide comfort to AMI patients.
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