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Br J Health Psychol. 2004 Sep;9(Pt 3):381-92.

Cognitive-behavioural rehabilitation programme for patients with an implanted cardioverter defibrillator: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Psychology, c/o The Institute of Rehabilitation, 215 Anlaby Road, Hull HU3 2PG, UK.



The effectiveness of a comprehensive 12-week CR programme for ICD patients was evaluated.


All surviving and suitable ICD patients being cared for by a regional implantation centre were invited to attend a 12-week cognitive-behavioural cardiac rehabilitation programme that had been modified to meet the needs of this group. Patients assenting were randomized to either an immediate treatment or a waiting treatment group. Measures were taken prior to randomization, at the end of the treatment or waiting period, at the end of the second treatment group for that group only and at three months post-treatment for both groups.


The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Total Concerns Questionnaire, the Quality of Life after Myocardial Infarction Questionnaire, the EuroQual (subjective health rating scale), the Shuttle Test and a number of ICD shocks and ATP episodes were used in this study.


For those patients willing and able to attend, the cognitive-behavioural CR programme produced significant benefits in terms of psychological and functional adaptation to living with the device.


A comprehensive 12-week CR programme that incorporated both psychological and exercise-based components significantly reduced anxiety and depression and improved quality of life of ICD patients. It is not clear if these benefits are sustained.

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