Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri




Greco Andrea Bergamo(Bergamo) – Department of Human and Social Services, University of Bergamo | Zenoni Emanuela Bergamo(Bergamo) – ASST Bergamo EST | Bariletti Irene Bergamo(Bergamo) – ASST Bergamo EST

Background: Investigating the relationship between psychological factors and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) has long been a focal point of previous research. Researchers have primarily focused on identifying possible predictive factors for CVD’s development and examining patients’ responses during acute or chronic phases, but less is known about the role of cardiac rehabilitation and the types of psychological treatments on patients’ psychological status.

Aims: The aim of this study is to compare anxiety, depression, and illness perception levels of patients affected by different cardiovascular diseases at the beginning (t0), at the end (t1), and three months after a cardiac rehabilitation program (t2) in which patients were involved in three different types of psychological treatments: psychoeducational intervention group, progressive muscle relaxation training integrated with Jacobson ‘s technique and imaginative stabilization techniques, individual counseling.

Methods: In this study were involved patients with recent episodes of Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), heart failure (HF) or cardiac surgery undergoing cardiac rehabilitation between January 2023 and August 2023 at ASST Bergamo Est. To assess anxiety, depression and illness perception levels of participants we used self-report questionnaires that included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (Brief-IPQ). Patients could be assigned to different psychological treatments based on their clinical condition.

Results: The study involved 181 participants, namely N=36 ACS cases (19.9%), N=25 CHF (13.8%), and N=120 cardiac surgery (66.3%). As shown in Table 1, males were 71.3% (N=129) and the average age was 65.96 years old (SD=11.904). One hundred-sixty einght patients participated in psychoeducational intervention group, 120 in relaxation training, and 35 in individual counseling. Statistically significant differences in anxiety, depression, and illness perception levels were observed at the program ‘s initiation (t0) and upon completion (t1 and t2) in relation to the psychological treatments: individual counseling had a better impact on levels of anxiety and depression and on the development of a more adequate perception of illness.

Conclusions: The type of psychological treatment during cardiac rehabilitation appears to give different results in terms of psychological status, self-care and disease management of patients.