- False heart rate feedback and the perception of heart symptoms in patients with congenital heart disease and anxiety
- International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
- Volume | Issue number
- 16 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Background: Little is known about the mechanisms explaining an increased perception of heart symptoms in congenital heart disease (ConHD). In the present study, it was suggested that a combination of high trait anxiety and disease history increases the perception of heart symptoms.
Purpose: It was tested whether false heart cues will result in an increased perception of heart symptoms in patients with ConHD and anxiety.
Method: Thirty-six patients with ConHD and 44 healthy controls performed two exercise tasks. During one of the exercise tasks, participants were exposed to a false heart cue consisting of false heart rate feedback (regular or irregular). Perceived heart symptoms were assessed and heart rate, arterial partial pressure of CO2, and respirator rate were monitored continuously.
Results: In line with the predictions, false heart rate feedback resulted in an increased perception of heart symptoms in high trait anxious patients with ConHD that could not be explained by acute heart dysfunction. However, unexpectedly, this effect was not observed immediately after the false heart rate feedback task but after a second exercise task without false feedback.
Conclusion: The results suggest that not the sole presence of ConHD but ConHD in combination with high trait anxiety results in a vulnerability to overperceive heart symptoms.
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