PITTSBURGH -- Angioplasty patients who handle their recovery with a positive attitude are less likely to have a second coronary event, according to a new study by a Carnegie Mellon University researcher.
The study, directed by Psychology Professor Vicki Helgeson, appears in the August issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. It is the first to examine the positive psychological variables that might affect new coronary events among angioplasty patients.
The study shows that patients who scored low on measures of self-esteem, optimism and feelings of control over their lives were two and a half times more likely to experience a second coronary event.
"Our work demonstrates that people who respond to a first coronary event by establishing a sense of control over their health, restoring damaged self-esteem and developing a positive outlook, may reduce their risk of a subsequent coronary event," Helgeson said. "This is one of the few studies to show that someone's psychological state may affect the occurrence of new coronary events that are likely caused by restenosis."
Restenosis is the recurrence of blockage in the arteries leading to the heart among people who have had an angioplasty.
The researchers defined coronary events as heart attack, the need for another angioplasty or bypass surgery. Helgeson and research associate Heidi Fritz, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, questioned 298 patients (199 male and 99 female) who had successfully undergone angioplasty. Angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, has been used for nearly two decades to treat coronary artery disease by relieving blockage in major arteries leading to the heart.
The admission diagnoses for the 298 patients were coronary artery disease,
unstable angina or chest pain, acute myocardial infarction or a failed treadmill
test. Their angioplasties were defined as successful primarily if the artery was
opened 50 percent. Angiop
Contact: Vicki Helgeson
Carnegie Mellon University