Screening for - and prevalence of - anxiety and depression in cardiac rehabilitation in the post-COVID era. An observational study

Charlotte Helmark, Alex Harrison, Susanne S Pedersen, Patrick Doherty

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BACKGROUND: Approximately 20-30% of patients with a cardiac disease suffer from anxiety and/or depression, leading to poor health outcomes. To identify this subgroup, clinical guidelines recommend screening for anxiety and depression in cardiac rehabilitation (CR). It is unknown how screening practice is delivered post-COVID.

METHODS: This observational study used data from the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation from April 2018-March 2022. Descriptive statistics were used to assess screening rates and prevalence, while a multivariate logistic regression model was performed to analyse determinants for screening for anxiety and depression among patients participating in cardiac rehabilitation.

RESULTS: The population consisted of 245,705 patients, where 128,643 (52.4%) were screened and 117,062 (47.6%) were not. Patients attending CR during first year of COVID-19 were less likely to be screened. Patients with female gender, living alone, non-white ethnicity, living in the most deprived areas, current smoking, and physical inactivity were less likely to be screened, while patients who were revascularized, having an objective physical fitness test, and attending a certified CR center were more likely to be screened. For patients attending CR during COVID-19, the prevalence of anxiety and depression decreased significantly. For anxiety the prevalence dropped from 34.4% to 15.8%, for depression the prevalence dropped from 33.5% to 16.5%.

CONCLUSION: CR service provision was negatively impacted during COVID-19, leading to much lower screening for anxiety and depression in the CR setting. Prevalence of anxiety and depression decreased during COVID-19 for this population, possibly because psychologically affected patients refrained from attending CR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131379
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Early online date20 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sept 2023

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Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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