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Psychosom Med. 2011 Apr;73(3):226-33. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31820afc63. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

A randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavior therapy tailored to psychological adaptation to an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

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Department of Psychology, York University, Behavioural Sciences Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3.



To evaluate a eight-session cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) intervention tailored to adaptation in implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) patients; and to test for treatment group by gender interaction effects.


Patients receiving their first ICD implant were randomized to CBT or usual cardiac care. Primary outcomes measured at baseline, 6-month, and 12-month follow-ups were symptoms of anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (Impact of Events Scale-Revised), and phobic anxiety (Crown-Crisp Experiential Index). Secondary outcomes were quality of life (Short Form-36 Physical Component Summary and Short Form-36 Mental Component Summary) and ICD shocks or antitachycardia pacing therapies.


Of 292 eligible patients, 193 consented and were randomized to CBT (n = 96) or usual cardiac care (n = 97). Eighty percent were male; mean age was 64.4 years (standard deviation = 14.3); and 70% received an ICD for secondary prevention. No baseline differences were observed between the treatment conditions; however, women scored worse than men on all psychological and quality of life variables (p < .05). Eighty-three percent completed follow-up. Repeated-measures analyses of covariance revealed significantly greater improvement with CBT on posttraumatic stress disorder total and avoidance symptoms for men and women combined (p < .05) and significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms and Short Form-36 Mental Component Summary only in women (p < .01). No differences were observed between treatment conditions on ICD therapies over follow-up.


A CBT intervention to assist adaptation to an ICD enhanced psychological functioning over the first year post implant.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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