Psychological adaptation to ICDs and the influence of anxiety sensitivity

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Journal Article
Psychology, Health & Medicine, 2007, 12 (2), pp. 163 - 171
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Forty-nine patients scheduled for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation completed self-report psychological questionnaires prior to surgery and at 2, 4 and 6 months after surgery. The most common psychological problem identified was anxiety, with clinically significant cases based on the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) ranging between 26% and 34%. Clinically significant depression ranged between 8% and 20%. Anxiety sensitivity was associated with high levels of anxiety, depression and stress at baseline, but not at follow-up assessments. It is possible that within this population anxiety sensitivity is associated with distress during high-threat situations, but the relationship diminishes once the threat has passed. In addition, the reassurance provided by the ICD may reduce negative perceptions of symptoms, promoting psychological adaptation.
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