Psychological Distress Among Female Cardiac Patients Presenting to a Women's Heart Health Clinic. The American journal of cardiology Edwards, K. S., Hekler, A. C., Baum, J., Nejedly, M., Tsai, S., Khandelwal, A., Naderi, S., Hoover, V., Tremmel, J. A. 2019


Female cardiac patients are at greater risk for mental health disorders than their male counterparts, and these mental health disorders have been associated with increased cardiac morbidity and mortality. However, few studies have closely examined the mental health disorders found among the female cardiac population. The primary aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of psychological distress in a sample of female cardiac outpatients at an academic medical center. A secondary aim was to determine whether different demographic variables, cardiac risk factors, or cardiac diagnoses were associated with different levels of emotional distress. A survey, including demographic information, medical status, and standardized symptom measures was completed by 117 female patients scheduled for medical visits at an outpatient women's heart health clinic over a 4-month period. Using standardized self-report questionnaires, 38% scored in the moderate-to-severe range for at least 1 mental disorder and 50% endorsed current insomnia. Symptoms of clinical depression (20%) and anxiety (42)% were endorsed at higher rates than predominantly male or mixed comparison samples. Although there was no apparent relation between the severity of cardiac problems and the degree of psychological distress, women with diagnoses of hyperlipidemia, prediabetes, and diabetes reported greater psychological distress than those without these problems. Women with lower income also reported more psychological distress. In conclusion, our findings suggest an unmet need for integrated mental health services for female cardiac patients.

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