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Clinical correlates of complicated grief among individuals with acute coronary syndromes

Authors Pini S, Gesi C, Abelli M, Cardini A, Lari L, Felice F, Di Stefano R, Mazzotta G, Bovenzi F, Bertoli D, Borelli L, Michi P, Oligeri C, Balbarini A, Manicavasagar V

Received 22 April 2015

Accepted for publication 26 June 2015

Published 7 October 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 2583—2589


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ryouhei Ishii

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Stefano Pini,1 Camilla Gesi,1 Marianna Abelli,1 Alessandra Cardini,1 Lisa Lari,1 Francesca Felice,2 Rossella Di Stefano,2 Gianfranco Mazzotta,3 Francesco Bovenzi,4 Daniele Bertoli,5 Lucia Borelli,4 Paola Michi,1 Claudia Oligeri,3 Alberto Balbarini,2 Vijaya Manicavasagar6

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Psychiatry Sector, University of Pisa, Pisa, 2Department of Surgical, Medical, Molecular and Critical Area Pathology, University of Pisa, Pisa, 3Unit of Cardiology, Ospedale Sant’Andrea, La Spezia, 4Cardio-Respiratory Department, Ospedale Campo di Marte, Lucca, 5Unit of Cardiology, Ospedale San Bartolomeo, Sarzana (SP), Italy; 6Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Objective: The study aimed at exploring bereavement and complicated grief (CG) symptoms among subjects without a history of coronary heart disease (CHD) at the time of a first acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and to evaluate the relationship of CG symptoms and ACS.
Method: Overall, 149 subjects with ACS (namely, acute myocardial infarct with or without ST-segment elevation or unstable angina), with no previous history of CHD, admitted to three cardiac intensive care units were included and evaluated by the Structured Clinical Interview for Complicated Grief (SCI-CG), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, and the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (MOS-SF-36).
Results: Of the total sample of 149 subjects with ACS, 118 (79.2%) met criteria for DSM-5 persistent complex bereavement disorder. Among these, subjects who lost a partner, child, or sibling were older (P=0.008), less likely to be working (P=0.032), and more likely to be suffering from hypertension (P=0.021), returned higher scores on the SCI-CG (P=0.001) and developed the index ACS more frequently between 12 and 48 months after the death than those who lost a parent or another relative (P≤0.0001). The occurrence of ACS 12–48 months (P=0.019) after the loss was positively correlated with SCI-CG scores. An inverse relationship with SCI-CG scores was observed for patients who experienced ACS more than 48 months after the loss (P=0.005). The SCI-CG scores significantly predicted lower scores on the “general health” domain of MOS-SF-36 (P=0.030), as well as lower scores on “emotional well-being” domain (P=0.010).
Conclusion: A great proportion of subjects with ACS report the loss of a loved one. Among these, the loss of a close relative and the severity of CG symptoms are associated with poorer health status. Our data corroborate previous data indicating a strong relationship between CG symptoms and severe cardiac problems.

Keywords: acute coronary syndrome (ACS), coronary heart disease (CHD), CG symptoms, complicated grief, DSM-5

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