A comparative study of uncertainty, optimism and anxiety in patients receiving their first implantable defibrillator for primary or secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death
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BACKGROUND: Increasingly, patients are receiving implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) for prevention of sudden cardiac death. ICDs are implanted for primary prevention (patients at risk for ventricular arrhythmia [PP]) and secondary prevention (patients who have had/survived a sustained ventricular arrhythmia or cardiac arrest [SP]). Few prospective studies have examined psychosocial factors associated with these patients. OBJECTIVES: To determine if patients receiving their first ICD for PP versus SP differed in uncertainty, anxiety, and optimism, before, 1 week, and 1 month after implant. DESIGN: Prospective, descriptive, correlational pilot. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Fifteen PP and 15 SP patients receiving their first ICD were enrolled. Mean ages (+/- SD) were 65.7+/-11.3 and 67.9+/-7.7 respectively. METHODS: Mishel's Uncertainty in Illness Scale (MUIS-C), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Life Orientation Test (LOT-R) were taken pre-implant, at the first post-implant visit, and at 1 month. Measures were compared using Student't-tests and ANOVA. RESULTS: Pre-implant, both groups had moderately high MUIS-C scores (mean+/-SD; PP=67.67+/-13.36; SP=70.27+/-6.80; t=0.67; t(df)=28; p=0.507). LOT-R scores were 15.67+/-3.8 for PP and 16.47+/-3.6 for SP; t=0.59; t(df)=28; p=0.557. Pre-implant state anxiety scores were (mean PP=37.40+/-10.0, SP=37.73+/-13.6; t=0.076; t(df)=28; p=0.940). At 1-month PP patients had significantly lower uncertainty scores than the SP group (mean 62.33+/-4.17 versus 67.87+/-4.61; t=3.45; t(df)=28; p=0.002). A main effect for time, between pre-implant and 1-month, was found for uncertainty (F(2,56)=3.26; p<0.05) and state anxiety (F(2,56)=3.61, p<0.05), where both groups showed lower scores. CONCLUSION: This study identified moderately high uncertainty in PP and SP patients prior to receiving their ICD. Though uncertainty was high, both groups reported an optimistic disposition and normal anxiety. At 1-month, SP patients had higher uncertainty scores than PP patients. This post-intervention uncertainty among patients who experienced an arrhythmic event warrants attention from nurses caring for ICD patients. Interventions to ameliorate uncertainty should be tailored to consider ICD indication.
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