Gender Disparities in Symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, and Quality of Life in Defibrillator Recipients

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Most patients cope well with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), but psychological distress and ICD-related concerns have been reported in about 20% of ICD recipients. Many previous studies have not distinguished between genders.


In this nationwide study we compared quality of life, anxiety, and depression symptoms between the genders in ICD recipients, and determined predictors of each of these variables in men and women. All adult Swedish ICD recipients were invited by mail to participate and 2,771 patients (66 ± 12 years) completed standardized measures of quality of life, symptoms of anxiety, and depression. Time since implantation ranged from 1 year to 23 years with a mean of 4.7 ± 3.9.


Women reported worse quality of life (mean index 0.790 vs 0.825) and higher prevalence of anxiety (20.5% vs 14.7%) than did men (P < 0.001 for both comparisons), while there were no differences in symptoms of depression (8.8% vs 8.2%).


Most ICD recipients report a good quality of life, without emotional distress, but among the minority with distress, women fare worse than men.

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