Tech And Science

Anxiety after a cardiac arrest is more likely in women than in men: study

Aniety Cardiac Arrest Men Women
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According to one study, women are more likely than males to have long-term anxiety following a cardiac arrest.

The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Acute CardioVascular Care 2023 scientific symposium, indicated that more than 40% of women, compared to 23% of males, experience worry four months following a cardiac arrest.

In developed nations, cardiac arrest kills one out of every five people. When the heart abruptly stops pumping blood around the body, the individual drops out and dies within 10 to 20 minutes if flow is not rapidly restored.

Fewer than 10% of persons who suffer a cardiac arrest live to be discharged from the hospital.

Anxiety and sadness are common following a severe illness and are significantly linked to lower quality of life in both patients and family.

“Cardiac arrest occurs with little or no warning and it’s common to feel anxious and low afterwards,” said Dr. Jesper Kjaergaard of Rigshospitalet-Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.

“After the initial shock and confusion, patients and their families have an abrupt change in their way of life, with medical investigations to determine the cause of cardiac arrest and in some cases diagnosis of a condition requiring treatment. This may add to the stress and anxiety.

“Our study indicates that women are more affected psychologically and could be targeted for extra support,” Kjaergaard said.

The study involved 245 individuals who experienced a cardiac arrest in the community and were brought to the hospital in a coma between 2016 and 2021.

A four-month follow-up session was used to measure psychological symptoms.

Women had considerably greater depression and anxiety ratings (3.3 and 6.1, respectively) than males (2.6 and 4.5, respectively).

In addition, women exhibited considerably greater levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than males (median score 33 vs. 26, respectively).

Anxiety was shown to be strongly associated to PTSD symptoms in both men and women.

“The findings confirm our experience in clinical practice that the psychological effects of cardiac arrest persist for months. Anxiety was frequent, particularly in women,” Kjaergaard said.

“Our results highlight the need for long-term follow up of cardiac arrest survivors to identify and treat mental health issues. Patients should be encouraged to tell their healthcare professional about anxiety, depression and stress related to cardiac arrest.”