Psychiatric Disorders and Quality of Life in Patients With Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators: A Systematic Review

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Objective: To systematically review the literature with regard to psychiatric disorders and quality of life in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Data Sources: Research was conducted in 3 databases (ISI Web of Science, PubMed, and PsycINFO) using the terms implantable, cardioverter, defibrillator, quality of life, psych*, anxiety, and depression.

Study Selection: The search yielded 1,399 references. Non-English and repeated references were excluded. After abstract analysis, 42 references were recovered for full-text reading, and 25 articles were selected for this review.

Data Extraction: Research took place in April 2012, and no time restriction was placed on any of the database searches. Review or theoretical articles were excluded, and only clinical trials and epidemiologic studies were selected for this review.

Results: A systematic review of the literature revealed mostly observational prospective cohort studies followed by cross-sectional observational studies and randomized clinical trials. Few studies included in the review were observational retrospective cohort or case-control studies. There are prominent signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Disorders include phobic anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, somatoform disorder, agoraphobia, and depression. Quality of life in the physical, social, and psychological domains is affected and is related to the intensity and the frequency of the device’s electrical discharge.

Conclusions: Work regarding psychiatric comorbidity in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator has shown that anxiety and depression are common. The patients and their families should be informed by their doctors that the presence of the device minimizes risk of sudden death and allows them to have a normal life.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2013;15(2):doi:10.4088/PCC.12r01456

Submitted: August 6, 2012; accepted January 16, 2013.

Published online: April 18, 2013.

Corresponding author: Ana Claudia C. de Ornelas Maia, MSc, Institute of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, INCT Translational Medicine, R Visconde de Pirajá, 407/702, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 22410-003, Brazil (

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2013;15(2):doi:10.4088/PCC.12r01456