Fear of movement a Common Problem among Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

A doctoral thesis at Sahlgrenska Academy has found that one out of five patients with coronary artery disease experience such a great fear of movement (kinesiophobia) that their health may suffer as a result.

Due to fear that movement will harm them (kinesiophobia), many patients with coronary artery disease avoid exercise and physical activity. Kinesiophobia, which is a normal psychological reaction in the acute stage after a coronary event, prevents many patients from participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program.

A doctoral thesis by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy demonstrates that kinesiophobia is more common than previously believed. Doctoral student Maria Bäck looked at 332 patients with coronary artery disease six months after the acute cardiac event. She found occurrence of kinesiophobia in one out of every five patients.

“The situation is serious,” Ms. Bäck says. “Patients with kinesiophobia were less likely to participate in cardiac rehabilitation, performed worse on muscle tests and reported less physical activity, primarily medium and high-frequency activities. They also experienced poorer quality of life, as well as higher degrees of anxiety and depression, than patients without kinesiophobia.

This is the first study exploring kinesiophobia in patients with coronary artery disease. The phenomenon is familiar to clinical practitioners, however, and studies of other patient populations – particular those with chronic pain – have found that kinesiophobia poses an obstacle to successful rehabilitation.

Ms. Bäck’s thesis shows that attending exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation decreases the odds for kinesiophobia. The researchers concluded that patients with kinesiophobia must be identified as early as possible after a cardiac event, if they are to follow through on exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation

“Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation clearly reduces mortality and morbidity and has a salutary psychological impact,” Ms. Bäck says. “So designing targeted interventions for rehabilitation of patients with kinesiophobia is extremely important.”

Entitled Exercise and Physical Activity in Relation to Kinesiophobia and Cardiac Risk Markers in Coronary Artery Disease, the thesis will be presented on 16 November.

Link to thesis

Contact:
Maria Bäck, doctoral student at the Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Phone +46 736 534963
maria.m.back@vgregion.se

Press Officer
Krister Svahn

Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
46766-18 38 69
4631-786 3869
krister.svahn@sahlgrenska.gu.se


The Sahlgrenska Academy is the faculty of health sciences at the University of Gothenburg. Education and research are conducted within the fields of pharmacy, medicine, odontology and health care sciences. About 4,000 undergraduate students and 1,200 postgraduate students are enrolled at Sahlgrenska Academy. Around 1,400 people work at the Sahlgrenska Academy. 850 of them are researchers and/or teachers. 2009 Sahlgrenska Academy had a turnover of 2,100 million SEK.

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The Sahlgrenska Academy is the faculty of health sciences at the University of Gothenburg. Education and research are conducted within the fields of pharmacy, medicine, odontology and health care sciences. 6,000 students are enrolled at Sahlgrenska Academy and around 1,000 researchers and teachers work at the faculty. www.sahlgrenska.gu.se/english

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One out of five patients with coronary artery disease experience such a great fear of movement that their health may suffer as a result.
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Patients with kinesiophobia were less likely to participate in cardiac rehabilitation.
Maria Bäck, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy