Comparison of anxiety assessments between clinicians and patients with acute myocardial infarction in cardiac critical care units

Jennifer L. O'Brien, Debra K. Moser, Barbara Riegel, Susan K. Frazier, Bonnie J. Garvin, Kyungeh An Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


• BACKGROUND Although anxiety is common after acute myocardial infarction and can adversely affect physical recovery, it is not part of the routine clinical assessment of patients with myocardial infarction. Furthermore, evidence suggests that patients and clinicians differ significantly in their assessments of patients' anxiety levels. • OBJECTIVES To determine the extent to which clinicians assess anxiety in patients with acute myocardial infarction and to compare patients' self-ratings with their clinicians' assessments. • METHODS In a prospective, descriptive study, 101 patients used the Spielberger State Anxiety Index to assess their anxiety during the first 48 hours after admission for acute myocardial infarction. Patients' scores were compared with nurses' and physicians' assessments of the patients' anxiety as reported in the medical record. • RESULTS Only 45 patients (45%) had anxiety assessments noted in the record. Of those 45, 26 patients (58%) were described simply as anxious without any further description of the level of anxiety. Eleven (24%) of those 45 patients had behaviors of anxiety recorded, again without any indication of the level of anxiety. No association between patients' self-assessments and their clinicians' assessments was apparent (lambda = .03; P > .05). • CONCLUSIONS Anxiety was not routinely assessed, despite nearly half the patients reporting moderate to extreme anxiety when asked. When clinicians assessed anxiety, their assessments did not match patients' self-ratings of anxiety. A simple, easy-to-use instrument for discriminating levels of anxiety is needed. (American Journal of Critical Care. 2001;10:97-103).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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