25 Sep Improved Patient Education and Ongoing Psychological Support
Improved patient education and ongoing psychological support will help people cope with the psychological distress of having an implanted defibrillator, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.
The statement, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, is a comprehensive review of the psychosocial and quality of life for people who receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to restore normal heart rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death. It includes recommendations for improved patient care and identifies areas where more research is needed. The authors recommend routine screening and appropriate treatment for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which patients with ICDs often experience.
“A shock from an ICD can be lifesaving, but it can also affect a person’s quality of life and psychological state,” said Sandra B. Dunbar, R.N., D.S.N., chair of the statement writing group. “It’s important to look at this issue now because 10,000 people have an ICD implanted each month. They range from older people with severe heart failure to healthy children who have a gene that increases the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.” Before implantation, clinicians should provide clear information about the benefits and limitations of the ICD, prognosis and impact on lifestyle including activity and occupation.