Background Little is known about illness-related uncertainty and decreased health-related quality of life in patients undergoing initial coronary angiography or about the long-term effects of uncertainty.

Objectives To compare patients with and without high levels of uncertainty before angiography and to examine the influence of uncertainty on health-related quality of life 1 year after angiography.

Methods In a prospective, longitudinal study, measurements of perceived control, uncertainty, affective distress, and health-related quality of life were collected from 93 patients before angiography (baseline) and 1 year later. At baseline, patients were classified into high- and low-uncertainty groups by median split. At 1 year, analysis of variance was used to compare health-related quality of life and psychological outcomes in the 2 groups, and multiple linear regression with stepwise entry was used to identify independent determinants of health-related quality of life.

Results Compared with patients with low baseline uncertainty, patients with high baseline uncertainty had higher levels of anxiety and depression and lower levels of perceived control and health-related quality of life 1 year after angiography. Baseline health-related quality of life, uncertainty, and life stress accounted for 54% of the variance in health-related quality of life, even when angiographic outcome was controlled for (P < .001). Baseline uncertainty was independently associated with health-related quality of life (β = −0.25; 95% confidence interval, −9.40 to −0.05; P = .02).

Conclusions At initial angiography, high levels of uncertainty about illness portend negative health-related quality of life outcomes up to 1 year later.

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