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implantable cardioverter defibrillator, quality of life, technology dependence



  1. Udlis, Kimberly A. PhD, FNP-BC


Background: The impact of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) technology on the quality of life (QOL) experienced by recipients has been a major focus of recent research. Numerous studies have found psychological distress to be important in determining QOL in persons receiving ICDs, yet the source of psychological distress is not well understood.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the impact of technology dependency on psychological outcomes in ICD recipients.


Methods: With the use of a cross-sectional design, 161 ICD recipients from 1 device clinic were mailed self-administered questionnaires, including the Dependency on Technology Scale, Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, Florida Shock Anxiety Scale, Florida Patient Acceptance Survey, and Short Form-12 (SF-12). Hierarchical multiple regressions and analyses of variance were performed.


Results: The final sample size was 101 participants. Mean (SD) age was 68 (13) years; 72% of the participants were men, 99% were white, and 30% reported receiving a shock(s). A total of 80% reported positive attitudes toward technology dependency; 14%, neutral; and 6%, negative (Dependency on Technology Scale). Illness perceptions were positive (Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire; mean[SD], 34.5 [12.6]), shock anxiety was elevated (Florida Shock Anxiety Scale; mean [SD], 16.5 [6.7]), and device acceptance was good (Florida Patient Acceptance Survey; mean [SD], 74.9 [17.0]). Physical health QOL was low (SF-12; mean [SD], 38.6 [11.3]) and mental health QOL was moderate (SF-12; mean [SD], 50.6 [10.0]). Attitudes toward technology dependency significantly accounted for the variance seen in device acceptance and mental health QOL beyond age, gender, number of shocks, illness perceptions, and shock anxiety by 5.7% (P = .001) and 3.3% (P = .04), respectively. Significant differences were seen in device acceptance between those with negative and neutral attitudes (P = .001) and those with negative and positive attitudes (P < .001) and in shock anxiety and mental health QOL between those with negative and those with positive attitudes (P < .001).


Conclusions: Attitudes toward technology dependency is significantly associated with psychological outcomes and may explain the psychological distress in some ICD recipients. Degree of positivity toward technology dependency influences these outcomes. Research evaluating attitudes toward technology dependency and testing of interventions focusing on these attitudes is warranted.