Patient hopelessness linked to poor cardiac rehab, researchers find

Oct 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Feelings of hopelessness lead to decreased participation in rehabilitation for patients recovering from cardiac events such as a heart attack, according to a team of researchers led by a Michigan State University College of Nursing alumna.

The findings show physicians need to address emotional issues such as hopelessness as well as physical symptoms when creating successful plans, said Susan Dunn, chairperson of the Department of Nursing at Hope College and a member of the first class of doctoral graduates from MSU's College of Nursing.

"While hopelessness has been associated with a higher risk of fatal and nonfatal , very few studies have examined hopelessness after a cardiac event," Dunn said. "We found interventions focused on the prevention and treatment of hopelessness symptoms may potentially contribute to improved recovery of heart ."

Working with Dunn on the project were MSU researchers Manfred Stommel and William Corser from the College of Nursing and Margaret Holmes-Rovner from the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences.

As part of the study, 207 patients who suffered a cardiac event were interviewed at three and eight months after hospital discharge; they were given measures to gauge hopelessness and depression. While hopelessness persisted among many patients and was an independent predictor of lower exercise participation, depression showed no such influence.

"The results demonstrate the complexity of health outcomes of chronically ill patients in contemporary care environments," Corser said. "Health care practitioners must have an understanding of hopelessness to diagnose its presence and identify its potential effect on exercise participation."

Dunn, who graduated from the MSU College of Nursing's doctoral program in 2005, has been working with hopelessness and depression among patients with for some time.

"This area of research is vital, because while depression is often seen among patients recovering from illness, the symptoms are usually temporary," she said. "Hopelessness seems to capture a more permanent inability to recover psychologically."

Provided by Michigan State University (news : web)

Explore further: Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Depression lingers for female heart attack victims

Jul 13, 2007

Women who have suffered heart attacks have higher rates of lingering depressive symptoms compared to their male counterparts, a University of Alberta and McGill University study shows.

Feeling down and out could break your heart, literally

Mar 09, 2009

New data published in the March 17, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggest that relatively healthy women with severe depression are at increased risk of cardiac events, including sudden cardia ...

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments : 0