Pessimistic Outlook Potential Danger for People with ICD

Distressed personality can result poor health after implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is placed in the heart, says a new study published in the journal Circulation.

The researchers say that screening of patients with type D personality- characterized as being pessimist, having negative outlook towards life and avoiding social contacts - may give important information to doctors about a patients’ vulnerability after ICD.

"In my opinion, screening patients would be a worthwhile endeavor, as it will provide important information to health care professionals managing and caring for ICD patients on the patient's psychological vulnerability," lead researcher Susanne Pedersen, PhD, told WebMed.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is placed in the heart of patients who are at a risk of sudden cardiac arrest. ICD sends out an electrical shock as soon as it detects abnormal rhythm, preventing a heart attack.

Previous researches have indicated that personality type-D is a risk factor cardiac disease. Some experts have said that personality approach is needed to identify people who are at greater risk of developing cardiac disease. One research has even found that partners of patients with ICD who have type-D personality can experience anxiety and depression.

In the latest study, 178 participants who had recently received an ICD were enrolled. They were given a personality test questionnaire to determine the scores of Negative Affectivity (NA) and Social Inhibition (SI).

The researchers found that in their study group, anxiety was generally low but people with type-D personalities showed higher anxiety levels.

"Heart disease and receiving an ICD are major life events, but it is possible to lead a normal life with an ICD, and the art is to engage in activities that are important to patients and from which they derive joy and happiness. This may be easier said than done, but being aware of it and working on it, if necessary with the help of health care professionals, can provide patients with a full life, with a good quality of life,” said Pedersen (WebMed)

Another research study suggests that type-D personality may be a risk factor for early heart transplant rejection.

“We're so focused on the body and its diseases that we don't pay enough attention to their state of mind before or after their procedure. This study underscores the need to pick up on this, and it shows that that can be done with very simple questionnaires,” said Cardiologist Byron Lee, MD., defibrillator specialist at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center reports WebMed. Lee was not part of the present study.