The link between cardiac status and depression and anxiety in implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients: Design and first results of the PSYCHE-ICD study

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Objective: Depression and anxiety in patients with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) are associated with adverse outcomes. This study describes the design of the PSYCHE-ICD study and evaluates the correlation between cardiac status and depression and anxiety in ICD patients. Methods: We included 178 patients. Prior to implantation, patients completed validated psychological questionnaires for depression, anxiety and personality traits. Cardiac status was evaluated by means of left ventricular ejection fraction assessment (LVEF), New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and 24-h Holter monitoring for heart rate variability (HRV). A cross-sectional analysis was performed. Follow-up with annual study visits, including repeated full cardiac evaluation, will continue 36 months after ICD implantation. Results: Depressive symptoms were present in 62 (35%) and anxiety in 56 (32%) patients. Values of depression and anxiety significantly increased with higher NYHA class (P < 0.001). Depression symptoms were correlated with a reduced 6MWT (411 ± 128 vs. 488 ± 89, P < 0.001), higher heart rate (74 ± 13 vs. 70 ± 13, P = 0.02), higher thyroid stimulation hormone levels (1.8 [1.3–2.8] vs 1.5 [1.0–2.2], P = 0.03) and multiple HRV parameters. Anxiety symptoms were correlated with higher NYHA class and a reduced 6MWT (433 ± 112 vs 477 ± 102, P = 0.02). Conclusion: A substantial part of patients receiving an ICD have symptoms of depression and anxiety at time of ICD implantation. Depression and anxiety were correlated with multiple cardiac parameters, suggesting a possible biological links between psychological distress and cardiac disease in ICD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111182
JournalJournal of psychosomatic research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • Anxiety
  • Autonomic function
  • Depression
  • Heart failure
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator

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