Significance of depression and cognitive impairmenmt in patients undergoing programed stimulation of cardiac arrhythmias

G. J. Kennedy, M. A. Hofer, D. Cohen, R. Shindledecker, J. D. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Although depression and cognitive impairment have been associated with excess mortality following heart surgery, the relationship of these factors to death following treatment for cardiac arrhythmias is unknown. We prospectively examined the associations between biobehavioral factors, mortality, and arrhythmia manageability in 88 patients undergoing programed electrical stimulation for the diagnosis and treatment of supraventricular and ventricular tachyarrhythmias or syncope of unknown origin. Statistically significant relationships were identified between depression and mortality, and between cognitive impairment and mortality. No relationships were observed between cognitive impairment or psychologic profile and arrhythmia severity or treatment efficacy. Our data suggest that arrhythmia morbidity and mortality may in part be a function of cognitive and emotional impairments that lessen the individual's capacity to comply with lifesaving therapy, maintain a stable physiologic milieu, and continue an adaptive emotional life. Failure to recognize the clinical significance of these impairments in patients at risk for sudden cardiac death will contribute to the current difficulty reducing the death and disability associated with cardiac arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-421
Number of pages12
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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