Psychiatric morbidity and depressive symptomatology in patients with permanent pacemakers

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1997 Jun;20(6):1628-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1997.tb03531.x.


Implantation of a permanent pacemaker requires a psychological effort on the patient's part for adaptation in the acute term, and chronically, it restricts activities of the patient and may cause some psychiatric disturbances. To investigate psychiatric morbidity and depressive symptomatology of the patients with permanent pacemakers, 84 pacemaker patients were diagnosed using the DSM-III-R criteria and depressive symptoms were determined by modified Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (mHDRS). Sixteen (19.1%) patients had been given a psychiatric diagnosis. The most frequent diagnoses were adjustment disorder (5.9%) and major depressive episode (4.7%). Nine patients (10.7%) were diagnosed as having clinical depression (mHDRS > or = 17). The mean score of mHDRS was 7.57 +/- 7.46, and the severity of depression was significantly higher in females. The most frequent symptoms are difficulties in work and activities (53.6%), psychic anxiety (48.8%), loss of energy (42.9%), and hypochondriasis and insomnia (39.3%). Depressed mood, psychic anxiety, loss of energy, loss of interest, insomnia, and hypochondriasis were significantly more frequent in females. Uneducated patients had a more significant loss of energy than educated patients. Depressed mood, psychic anxiety, and somatic concerns and symptoms were more frequent in patients with permanent pacemakers than in the general population. These symptoms, resembling mixed anxiety-depression disorder, were related to fears of having a permanent pacemaker, since our series were composed of uneducated patients who did not have enough knowledge about the device.

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders / diagnosis
  • Adjustment Disorders / epidemiology
  • Adjustment Disorders / etiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Pacemaker, Artificial / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Socioeconomic Factors