emotions, exercise training, ICD, nursing, psychoeducation, rehabilitation



  1. Kikkenborg Berg, Selina PhD
  2. Stoier, Louise RN
  3. Moons, Philip PhD
  4. Zwisler, Ann-Dorthe PhD
  5. Winkel, Per MD
  6. Ulrich Pedersen, Preben PhD


Background: Serious illness will inevitably lead to a fundamental emotional reaction. Traditionally, in interventional treatment or rehabilitation trials, the psychological status of patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators has been evaluated with anxiety and depression as outcome measures. In caring for these patients, the aim of nursing is to help patients manage life with complex heart disease. The early detection and management of negative emotional response might prevent the development of pathological conditions such as depression.


Objective: The aims of this study were to (a) describe the trajectory of primary emotions over time in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators and (b) examine the potential effects of psychoeducational nursing on primary emotions.


Methods: During the inclusion period (October 2007 to November 2009), 196 patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillator were randomized (1:1) to rehabilitation versus usual care. Rehabilitation consisted of a psychoeducational nursing component and an exercise training component. This article concerns phase 1, psychoeducational nursing, guided by a theory of nursing, Rosemary Rizzo Parses Human Becoming Practice Methodologies. The outcome measure is the Emotions and Health Scale. The scale consists of 8 primary emotions: joy, agreeableness, surprise, fear, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.


Results: Mean (SD) age was 58 (13) years, and 79% of the participants were men. Significant improvements were found in primary emotional responses over time (P < .05) when combining groups. However, no difference in emotional intensity was found between the groups after 3 months of psychoeducational nursing intervention (P > .05).


Conclusions: Primary emotions are affected after implantable cardioverter defibrillator implantation. Improvements over time were found. However, it was not possible to detect any effect of a short-term psychoeducational nursing intervention. Evaluating the primary emotions might be a good way for nurses to monitor patients' psychological outcomes because the instrument is sensitive to changes over a short period. Further development of early psychoeducational nursing interventions for patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators is needed.