Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New UF tool measures heart implant patients' anxiety

28.06.2006
Implantable heart devices are the treatment of choice for patients with potentially life-threatening irregular heartbeats. But the thought of receiving a high-energy shock to restore normal cardiac rhythm can strike fear in their hearts nonetheless.

Just ask Ed Burns, of Ocala, who received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, five years ago. The uncertainty of when or if the device would fire made him wary of driving long distances. Before setting out on a road trip to California to visit family, Burns researched and made a list of every medical center along the route that could treat ICD patients.

Now a new tool from the University of Florida can help health-care providers identify which patients may need psychological services to cope with anxiety. It's called the Florida Shock Anxiety Scale, and UF researchers report on its effectiveness in the current issue of Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology.

The research was done as part of a continuing series of investigations on ICD recipients' psychological health led by Samuel Sears, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of clinical and health psychology at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Jamie Conti, M.D., an associate professor in the College of Medicine.

"Patients with an ICD can have unique fears that separate them from people with other general anxieties," said Emily Kuhl, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate in the department of clinical and health psychology.

The ICD is a battery-powered device that constantly monitors the patient's heartbeat and delivers a 750-volt shock to restore normal rhythm if it senses a dangerous rapid rhythm developing. Approximately 150,000 patients worldwide received an ICD in 2004, according to researchers at the University of Marburg in Germany.

Patients' concerns about ICDs recently gained national attention after manufacturers recalled 109,000 defibrillators last year. Device flaws have been linked to at least seven deaths.

Patients with an ICD may be afraid that if the device fires they may harm themselves or others, or create a scene. Or they may be fearful that certain activities, such as exercise or sexual activity, might trigger a shock, Kuhl said.

Research has shown that 10 percent to 38 percent of ICD recipients will experience a shock within the first year of receiving the implant. The sensation is often described as feeling like a kick in the chest.

"Patients usually describe a shock as a six on a pain scale of one to 10," Kuhl said. "A shock is not so much painful as it is surprising. Chances are that a shock won't interfere to the point that a patient is unsafe to drive or care for children."

To test its effectiveness, UF researchers administered the Florida Shock Anxiety Scale, a written questionnaire developed with help from doctoral students Robyn Walker and Neha Dixit, to 72 ICD recipients. The patients rated the frequency of anxious thoughts, such as "I am afraid of being alone when the ICD fires and I will need help" and "I am afraid to touch others for fear that I will shock them if the ICD fires."

Researchers analyzed participants' responses and determined that the scale evaluates the correct underlying anxiety concepts and proved highly reliable.

"We knew we had a reliable measure on our hands that could be potentially a great tool for health-care providers," Kuhl said.

Next they plan to test the anxiety scale with a larger number of patients and measure it against other anxiety assessment tools.

"We also want to get the Florida Shock Anxiety Scale into the hands of health-care providers so they use it, understand it and realize how important it is," Kuhl said, adding that psychological treatment for ICD patients is not standard care in the United States.

Burns said patient education was key to helping him overcome his fears after he received his ICD.

"Now I know what an ICD is and what it does, and I'm not the least bit concerned," Burns said. "You learn to live with the ICD and it becomes part of your body."

Sandra Dunbar, D.S.N., the Charles Howard Candler professor of nursing and cardiology at Emory University and an international expert on quality of life after ICD, said that research has shown a wide variety of patient responses to living with an ICD.

"The FSAS is a welcome tool for clinicians and researchers who are trying to determine which patients are at greatest risk for psychosocial distress and what interventions might work," Dunbar said. "Of particular merit is the potential ability of clinicians to use the tool to tailor care for particular patient concerns. This should ultimately lead to more individualized and cost-effective care."

Jill Pease | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.phhp.ufl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome
28.07.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.

A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome

28.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heavy metals in water meet their match

28.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells

28.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>