Psychological Effects of Heart Surgery Examined

Cases of congenital heart disease (CHD), in both adolescents and adults, have been on the rise for many years. An article in a recent issue of Congenital Heart Disease proposes that these numbers will continue to rise and that current psychological therapy for recovering patients needs improvement.

With few exceptions, cardiac surgery of congenital heart defects is not curative. Complications such as arrhythmias and heart failure are common, often requiring further medical treatment and re-operations. There are a few studies that have addressed the psychological effect this has on individuals.

“The current results suggest that psychological measures of patients with operated congenital heart defects are not directly dependent on their physical fitness or on the severity of residual symptoms,” says Dr. Kambiz Norozi, M.D., lead author of the article. “Patients’ subjective appraisals of the severity of the disease and to what degree the operated heart may be depended on are potentially important determinants of psychological state.” Additionally, many of the patient’s psychological states regarding their own physical fitness after the operations vary depending upon their own perception of their recovery.

The findings impact healthcare practices, health and government policy as well as grants for further research in the field. The results raise the question as to which predictors influence the psychological status of patients with operated congenital heart defects.

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