Gender Differences in Anxiety and Complications Early After Acute Myocardial Infarction

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Abstract

Background:

Anxiety is the earliest psychological response to acute myocardial infarction. When anxiety persists or becomes severe, it has negative consequences including increased risk for in-hospital complications. Therefore, it is necessary to determine which groups of people are at risk for high anxiety after acute myocardial infarction.

Objective:

The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a difference in anxiety levels and rate of complications based on gender early after acute myocardial infarction.

Methods:

A comparative design was used. Patients with acute myocardial infarction were interviewed within 72 hours (mean [SD], 40 [18] hours) of admission to the hospital and completed a sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire and the Anxiety Subscale of Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. In addition, clinical data were abstracted from the participants’ medical record after discharge.

Results:

A total of 250 patients, with a confirmed diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, participated in this study: 163 men and 87 women. Female patients were more anxious (15.5 [3.6] vs 8.1 [2.9], P < .01) and had more complications (1.1 [1.9] vs 0.6 [0.08], P < .05) than male patients did.

Conclusions:

Anxiety is a global problem after acute myocardial infarction. Exploration of reasons why women of different cultures are at a higher risk for anxiety after acute myocardial infarction is necessary. It is of high clinical importance to determine strategies for managing anxiety in patients with or suspected to have acute myocardial infarction, especially women.

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