Gender Differences in Psychological Distress and Quality of Life in Patients with an ICD 1-Year Postimplant

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Abstract

Background:

Gender differences in patient-reported outcomes in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) have been researched, but findings are inconclusive and mostly based on cross-sectional study designs. To gain a better insight into potential determinants of psychological distress and health-related quality of life (HQOL), we examined the relationship between gender and patient-reported outcomes in patients with an ICD in the first year after ICD implantation.

Methods:

Consecutive patients (N = 300) receiving an ICD between September 2007 and February 2010 at Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital, the Netherlands, completed several questionnaires to assess psychological distress and HQOL prior to ICD implantation and at 2 months, 5 months, 8 months, and 12 months postimplantation.

Results:

Correcting for clinical confounders (e.g., left ventricular ejection fraction, ICD indication, comorbidities, ICD shocks), women reported higher levels of anxiety (P = 0.021) and shock-related anxiety (P = 0.047) than men in the course of a year. On most HQOL subscales, no gender differences were found, except for subscale Physical functioning, where women reported higher levels of improvement compared to men (P = 0.008). Gender was independently associated with poorer device-related acceptance, but only on the Florida Patient Acceptance Scale domain Body image concerns (P = 0.043), with women expressing higher levels of concerns about their body image compared to men.

Conclusions:

Women report higher levels of general and shock-related anxiety, and higher levels of body image concerns than men. Women showed more improvement in physical functioning. Screening patients before and after ICD implantation for general and shock anxiety may help determine patients who could benefit from psychological counseling.

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