Predicting completeness of symptom relief after major heart surgery

Behav Med. 1996 Summer;22(2):45-57. doi: 10.1080/08964289.1996.9933764.


The authors hypothesized that the same biopsychosocial factors that raise the risk of illness incidence would influence the speed and completeness of relief from physical symptoms during recovery following cardiac surgery. This multicenter prospective study involved 463 patients aged 35 to 69 years who underwent coronary artery bypass graft or cardiac valve surgery. Predictor data were gathered 1 to 3 days before surgery, and outcome measures were collected 6 months postoperatively. The following predictors were associated with postoperative freedom from cardiac symptoms: fewer preoperative cardiac hospitalizations; low levels of angina, dyspnea, fatigue, and sleep problems; low levels of anxiety, depression, hostility, and life-change events; and high levels of psychosocial well-being, hopefulness, overall satisfaction, and social support. The predictors of not requiring daytime bed rest because of cardiac symptoms during the 6th postoperative month were male gender, higher education, less cardiac disability preoperatively, low levels of angina, dyspnea, sleep problems, depression and fatigue, and absence of Type A behavior and of intraoperative hypotension. By using separate multiple logistic regression equations, the authors identified the variables printed in bold face as independent significant contributors to prediction. Many of the predictors are strong enough and simple enough to be used in clinical practice. Many of them may also predict recovery after acute illnesses and injuries involving other organ systems.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / psychology*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Coronary Disease / surgery
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Diseases / psychology*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Support
  • Type A Personality