Psychophysiological manifestations of anxiety in patients undergoing electrophysiology studies

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To measure state anxiety and related physiological correlates at 3 selected times when patient education regarding electrophysiology (EP) studies is likely to occur: 24 hours before the EP study (pre-procedure teaching), 1 hour before the EP study (reinforcement of pre-procedure teaching), and 3 hours after the EP study (explanation of results; reinforcement of post-procedure instructions).

DESIGN

Descriptive-exploratory.

SETTING

Military medical treatment facility in mid Atlantic region.

SUBJECTS

Thirty-two adults who underwent initial EP testing.

OUTCOME MEASURES

The Spielberger State Anxiety score, frontalis muscle tension, heart rate, electrodermal activity, electrothermal feedback, and mean arterial pressure.

METHODS

Outcome measures were obtained 1 day before (time 1), 1 hour before (time 2), and 3 hours after (time 3) the EP study.

RESULTS

Both state anxiety scores and physiological variables indicated minimal psychophysiological reactivity.

CONCLUSION

Patients undergoing initial EP studies experience moderate state anxiety and manifest a paradoxical pattern of autonomic responses over time. Moderate levels of state anxiety at each of the 3 assessment points would seem to indicate that patient education is appropriate at these times. (Heart Lung[registered sign] 1998;27:374-86)

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