PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) may experience anxiety specifically related to their medical condition. This review introduces the concepts of health anxiety and heart-focused anxiety, summarizes what is currently known about heart-focused anxiety among adults with CHD and offers suggestions to help adult CHD providers address heart-focused anxiety in their patients. RECENT FINDINGS: Although minimal research has been conducted specific to this outcome, health anxiety may occur at any point across the lifespan of individuals with CHD. A recent study found that children and adolescents with CHD reported greater health anxiety than community peers. Health anxiety was commonly reported among adults with CHD presenting for psychological assessment. It was linked with older age, trait anxiety, perceived parental overprotection and greater CHD complexity in one study. SUMMARY: Adults with CHD face many potential health-related stressors, including cardiac symptoms, treatments and interventions throughout the lifespan (including surgeries and other invasive procedures), the impact of CHD on daily lives and longer-term health expectations. Providers should be aware that heart-focused anxiety among patients is understandable and perhaps common. Patient-centred education and psychological intervention should be integrated within a comprehensive approach to long-term disease management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine