Pathways Approach to Cardiovascular Disorders
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common chronic illnesses and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Comorbidity among the physical illnesses in this category and mood and anxiety disorders is very high. Management of symptoms of shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, fatigue, or a sense of malaise are signals requiring attention first by the patient experiencing the symptoms; then the patient must have the ability to decide whether emergency medical attention is necessary. Interference by low mood or high anxiety in the decision-making process can have serious consequences. This chapter considers cardiovascular disorders from the Pathways perspective. The first case is that of a middle-aged physician who struggles to adjust to his diagnosis of congestive heart failure. The second case describes a traumatic reaction to heart surgery, necessitating treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. In each case, the Pathways Model organizes, step-wise interventions facilitating active involvement of the individual in his/her own health care. The effects of mood and anxiety on symptom management, response to treatment and outcome are explored. Both individuals achieve enhanced well-being in spite of the presence of a chronic cardiovascular condition.
KeywordsCardiovascular disorders Congestive heart failure Cardiac rehabilitation PTSD Pathways Model
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