anxiety, CHD, heart disease, negative emotions, prevalence



  1. Todaro, John F. PhD
  2. Shen, Biing-Jiun PhD
  3. Raffa, Susan D. PhD
  4. Tilkemeier, Peter L. MD
  5. Niaura, Raymond PhD


PURPOSE: Anxiety has been associated with the development and recurrence of coronary heart disease (CHD). The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of anxiety disorders in men and women with established CHD.


METHODS: One hundred fifty CHD patients were evaluated via a semistructured, psychiatric interview to assess both current and lifetime prevalence rates of anxiety disorders.


RESULTS: Approximately 36.0% (n = 54) of cardiac patients met the diagnostic criteria for at least 1 current anxiety disorder, and 45.3% (n = 68) presented with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime. Social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder were the most prevalent anxiety disorders observed, with current prevalence rates of 21.3% and 18.7%, respectively, and a lifetime prevalence of 26%. In addition, the current prevalence rate of specific phobia was approximately 14.7%, whereas 15.3% met the lifetime criteria. Lower prevalence rates for panic disorder (current = 4.7%, lifetime = 5.3%), agoraphobia (current = 3.3%, lifetime = 4.7%), posttraumatic stress disorder (current = 0%, lifetime = 1.5%), and obsessive compulsive disorder (current = 0%, lifetime = 0.7%) were observed. Female cardiac patients evidenced significantly higher current (women = 58.3% vs. 25.5%, P < .001) and lifetime (women = 70.8% vs. men = 33.3%, P < .001) rates of anxiety disorders compared with their male counterparts.


CONCLUSIONS: A considerable number of CHD patients evidence a significant history of anxiety. Greater efforts to identify and treat anxiety in outpatient cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation settings are needed.