Introduction: Evaluation of anxiety and depression in cardiac patients is an area of nursing practice that is frequently neglected. The aim of the study was to explore anxiety and depression in hospitalized patients with their first episode of acute myocardial infarction.
Material and methods: The study sample included 148 hospitalized patients who had a first episode of acute myocardial infarction. Data collection was performed by the interview method using a specially designed questionnaire which included socio-demographic, clinical and other patients' characteristics as well as the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess patients' levels of anxiety and depression.
Results: Analysis of data showed that 52% and 38% of participants had high levels of anxiety and depression, respectively. Furthermore, anxiety levels revealed a statistically significant association with anxiolytics (p = 0.005) and antidepressant medication (p = 0.026) in hospital, the belief that they will face difficulties in relations with the social and family environment (p = 0.009 and p = 0.002, respectively) and whether they considered themselves anxious (p = 0.003). Depression was statistically significantly associated with education level (p = 0.001), profession (p = 0.007), antidepressant medication in hospital (p ≤ 0.001), patients' relations with nursing staff (p = 0.019) and patients' belief that they will face difficulties in relations with the social and family environment (p ≤ 0.001 and p ≤ 0.001, respectively).
Conclusions: The results showed that socio-demographic and clinical characteristics should be taken into serious consideration when exploring anxiety and depression in patients with a first episode of acute myocardial infarction in order to implement appropriate interventions.
Keywords: anxiety; depression; first episode of acute myocardial infarction.