BACKGROUND: Although anxiety is common after acute myocardial infarction and can adversely affect physical recovery, it is not part of the routine clinical assessment of patients with myocardial infarction. Furthermore, evidence suggests that patients and clinicians differ significantly in their assessments of patients' anxiety levels. OBJECTIVES: To determine the extent to which clinicians assess anxiety in patients with acute myocardial infarction and to compare patients' self-ratings with their clinicians' assessments. METHODS: In a prospective, descriptive study, 101 patients used the Spielberger State Anxiety Index to assess their anxiety during the first 48 hours after admission for acute myocardial infarction. Patients' scores were compared with nurses' and physicians' assessments of the patients' anxiety as reported in the medical record. RESULTS: Only 45 patients (45%) had anxiety assessments noted in the record. Of those 45, 26 patients (58%) were described simply as anxious without any further description of the level of anxiety. Eleven (24%) of those 45 patients had behaviors of anxiety recorded, again without any indication of the level of anxiety. No association between patients' self-assessments and their clinicians' assessments was apparent (lambda = .03; P > .05). CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety was not routinely assessed, despite nearly half the patients reporting moderate to extreme anxiety when asked. When clinicians assessed anxiety, their assessments did not match patients' self-ratings of anxiety. A simple, easy-to-use instrument for discriminating levels of anxiety is needed.
BACKGROUND: Anxiety after acute myocardial infarction influences both short- and long-term recovery. Therefore, determining specific subgroups of patients who have relatively higher anxiety levels is important. Published findings about gender differences in anxiety after acute myocardial infarction are conflicting. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether gender differences in anxiety after acute myocardial infarction exist and whether any of the sociodemographic and clinical variables that often differ between men and women with acute myocardial infarction interact with gender to influence anxiety. METHODS: A total of 424 patients with confirmed acute myocardial infarction were enrolled in this multicenter prospective study. Patients' anxiety level was measured within 72 hours of their arrival at the hospital by using the State Anxiety Inventory and the Brief Symptom Inventory. RESULTS: Women had significantly higher anxiety than did men according to both the State Anxiety Inventory (42 +/- 12.9 vs 37.7 +/- 12.5; P = .001) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (0.83 +/- 0.97 vs 0.63 +/- 0.71; P = .02). Of the sociodemographic and clinical variables examined, only marital status and income significantly interacted with gender to influence anxiety. Married women had higher anxiety than did single and widowed women, and married men had lower anxiety than did single men. Women with lower income had higher anxiety than did women with higher income; income was not related to anxiety in men. CONCLUSION: Women report significantly greater anxiety early after acute myocardial infarction than men do. Women's greater anxiety may be partially explained by marital status and lower income at the time of the infarction.
BACKGROUND: Negative emotional reactions and difficulty in communicating are common in patients receiving mechanical ventilation and may adversely affect recovery from cardiac surgery. OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of providing concrete objective information about emotional stress and difficulty in communicating related to mechanical ventilation to Korean cardiac surgery patients. METHODS: A quasi-experimental 2-group design was used. The 22 subjects in the control group received the usual information; the 21 in the experimental group received concrete objective information in addition to the usual information. State anxiety, negative affect, use of sedative and analgesic medications, and difficulty communicating were compared between the 2 groups after surgery. RESULTS: Patients who received concrete objective information experienced less anxiety and negative mood during mechanical ventilation, less difficulty in communicating, and a shorter intubation time than did patients in the control group. The 2 groups did not differ in the amount of sedative or analgesic medication used per hour during mechanical ventilation. CONCLUSIONS: Nursing interventions that include concrete objective information help cardiac patients cope with the stresses associated with surgery and mechanical ventilation.