Patient and spouse acceptance and adaptation to implantable cardioverter defibrillators
Colette Pycha, RN, MSNAddress reprint requests to C.P., Department of Psychiatry, Desk P68, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, One Clinic Center, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland Ohio 44195.
Joseph R. Calabrese, MD
A. Dale Gulledge, MD
James D. Maloney, MD
Although electrophysiologic devices have been available since 1932 for managing sudden cardiac death, it was not until 1980 that the predecessor to the automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator was introduced. Subsequently, questions about psychosocial adaptation have prevented wide acceptance of these devices. To study this issue, 69 patients with treatment-resistant ventricular arrhythmias were sent a questionnaire following cardioverter implantation; spouses also received questionnaires. Of these, 42 patients and 38 spouses completed and returned questionnaires. The questionnaire was designed to elucidate psychosocial adaptation. Results suggest that patients and couples adapt to the automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators adequately, but not without some specific reservations.