This study sought to compare the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and hostility among 3 clinically diverse elderly cardiac patient cohorts and a reference group of healthy elders.
This was a multicenter, comparative study. A total of 1167 individuals participated: 260 healthy elders, and 907 elderly cardiac patients who were at least 3 months past a hospitalization (478 heart-failure patients, 298 postmyocardial infarction patients, and 131 postcoronary artery bypass graft patients). Symptoms of anxiety, depression, and hostility were measured using the Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist.
The prevalence of anxiety, depression, and hostility was higher in patients in each of the cardiac patient groups than in the group of healthy elders. Almost three quarters of patients with heart failure reported experiencing symptoms of depression, and the heart-failure group manifested the greatest percentage of patients with depressive symptoms.
The high levels of emotional distress common in cardiac patients are not a function of aging, because healthy elders exhibit low levels of anxiety, depression, and hostility.
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