Changing Illness Perceptions After Myocardial Infarction: An Early Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial

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ObjectiveThis study was designed to examine whether a brief hospital intervention designed to alter patients’ perceptions about their myocardial infarction (MI) would result in a better recovery and reduced disability.DesignIn a prospective randomized study, 65 consecutive patients with their first MI aged were assigned to receive an intervention designed to alter their perceptions about their MI or usual care from rehabilitation nurses. Patients were assessed in hospital before and after the intervention and at 3 months after discharge from hospital.ResultsThe intervention caused significant positive changes in patients’ views of their MI. Patients in the intervention group also reported they were better prepared for leaving hospital (p < .05) and subsequently returned to work at a significantly faster rate than the control group (p < .05). At the 3-month follow-up, patients in the intervention group reported a significantly lower rate of angina symptoms than control subjects (14.3 vs. 39.3, p < .03). There was no significant differences in rehabilitation attendance between the two groups.ConclusionsAn in-hospital intervention designed to change patients’ illness perceptions can result in improved functional outcome after MI.

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