Psychological functioning in patients referred to in-hospital cardiac rehabilitation after cardiac surgery


  • E. Callus
  • E. Quadri
  • S. Pagliuca
  • E.G. Bertoldo
  • G. Frigerio
  • C. de Vincentiis
  • L. Menicanti
  • S. Castelvecchio
  • L. Maresca
  • R. Tramarin


Background: Psychosocial variables play an important role in the wellbeing of cardiac patients, and many studies indicate them as risk factors affecting their health. The prolongation of hospital stay after cardiac surgery for an intensive cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programme is often critical in the patients’ lives and therefore these items should be closely monitored. Method: 236 cardiac patients (145 men, 91 women) admitted to our CR Unit after cardiac surgery were evaluated by acquiring data about their psychological status, lifestyle, quality of life, health perception (EuroQoL), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Psycho-social variables were evaluated with anxiety and depression together with quality of life, health perception and risk of non-adherence to the treatment before surgery (t0), at CR admission (t1) and at discharge (t2). Findings: Average anxiety and depression levels were in the normal range all times. An improvement was observed in the average health perception (t0 64, 39, t1 66,54 and t2 78,13/100). Women develop more frequently anxiety in the pre-surgery phase (p = 0.008). Anxiety (p = 0.006) and depression levels (p = 0.001) tend to decrease towards normal levels after the surgical phase. A solid relationship (p = 0.004), social support (p = 0.000 ) and quality of life (p = 0.000) represent protective factors towards anxiety and depression. Discussion: The prolongation of hospitalization for an intensive CR program does not seem to be a critical issue if there is the presence of social support and a solid relationship.





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