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Cardiovascular disease, Cognitive behavior therapy, Panic disorder, Psychosocial interventions



  1. Reid, Tony MA, RPN, RGN, HDip, Cert BT
  2. Denieffe, Suzanne MSc, RGN, RPN, RNT
  3. Denny, Margaret MPhil, RPN, RNT, RBT
  4. McKenna, Jarlath BSc(Hons), Adv Dip Ed, PG Dip Adv Nursing


It is increasingly recognized that patients with cardiovascular disease may also suffer from concurrent psychological problems. Many patients present to emergency services and cardiologists with a history of panic disorder. Because of the similarity of presenting symptoms, these patients are often undiagnosed and consequently have slower recovery times and are costly to the healthcare system. Panic disorder is a significant public health problem; however, it is a treatable condition. Healthcare providers should be aware of its occurrence in cardiovascular disease. This case study describes the use of psychosocial interventions, such as the cognitive behavior therapy, in the management of panic disorder after coronary artery bypass graft. A 64-year-old man was treated with 9 sessions of cognitive behavior therapy over a 5-month period. Baseline assessment showed significant distress and deficit in functioning. Following intervention, there was marked reduction in objective and subjective measurement of distress and overall improvement in functioning. Healthcare providers, particularly nurses, need to consider the integration of psychosocial interventions into areas of critical care to provide effective and holistic care. Preoperative screening would be helpful as well.