Anxiety and Depression in Cardiac Inherited Disease: Prevalence and Association With Clinical and Psychosocial Factors


  • Claire E. O’Donovan
  • Jonathan R. Skinner
  • Elizabeth Broadbent


Background: The small number of published studies indicate increased rates of anxiety and depression among patients with cardiac inherited diseases (CID). This study aimed to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression in a New Zealand CID cohort and seek any associations with clinical and psychosocial factors.
Method: Patients on a national CID register were sent a survey; 202 of 563 contactable patients participated (36% response rate). Ages ranged from 16 to 83 years (median 53). Most had Long QT Syndrome (43%) or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (34%). Questionnaires collected demographic and psychological variables, including anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), illness perceptions, perceived risk and social support. The registry supplied clinical and genetic characteristics.
Results: 80 participants (42%) reported features of anxiety and/or depression. 24 (13%) reached clinical levels of depression, a greater proportion than that found in the general population. Poorer perceived social support was associated with worse anxiety (p < .001) and depression (p < .001) scores. Reporting more physical symptoms (p = .001) (commonly not caused by the CID) was associated with poorer depression scores and greater perceived consequences of the CID was associated with greater anxiety scores (p < .05). Neither anxiety nor depression were associated with time since diagnosis, disease severity or type of disease.
Conclusion: Forty percent of the CID population live with some degree of psychopathology but this did not correlate with disease severity, type of disease nor time since diagnosis. Correlating factors which may be modifiable include illness perceptions, various physical symptoms and social support.