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Psychological interventions halve cardiovascular deaths

Published on 15/10/2013

Psychological interventions such as listening to music, discussing their treatment and religious praying halve deaths in heart disease patients, a study says.


The heart can benefit from psychological factors

Research from Athens was presented at the Acute Cardiac Care Congress 2013 and the study was led by a team lead in part by Dr Zoi Aggelopoulou.

Dr Aggelopoulou said: “The nurses on our coronary care unit observed that patients were less likely to have another heart attack, die, or return to hospital when we talked to them about their treatment, played music for them or helped religious patients to say prayers.

“It made us think that coronary heart disease is not just physical but also has a psychological component."

The study found that the introduction of positive psychological interventions reduced mortality and the chance of another cardiovascular event by 55% after two years or more. The benefits were not evident during the first two years.

Over 159,000 people died from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the UK in 2011, according to the British Heart Foundation.

The study focused on nine randomised controlled trials and the team evaluated the impact of psychological interventions and whether or not they improved the outcomes of patients with coronary heart disease.

Dr Aggelopoulou said: "We found a huge benefit of psychological interventions after 2 years, with less patients dying or having a cardiovascular event and therefore fewer repeat hospital visits.

“The interventions included talking to patients and their families about issues that were worrying them, relaxation exercise, music therapy, and helping them to say prayers."

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