Evidence-Based Psychosocial Interventions for Cardiac Patients

CE Credit: 3

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Length: 3 hours

Exam Items: N/A

This program is part of the series Heart and Mind: Contemporary Issues in Cardiac Psychology.

There have been few clinical trials in cardiac psychology.  A pubMed search of the terms “psychosocial factors and cardiovascular disease” yields more than 36,000 citations; in contrast, only 24 trials met criteria for inclusion in the most recent Cochrane review of the intervention literature. The Lifestyle Heart Trial, originated by Dean Ornish, MD, is the only study to have demonstrated regression of coronary atherosclerosis.  Dr. Ornish describes his innovative program as well as the evolution in his philosophy about a heart healthy lifestyle. Swedish psychologist Gunilla Burell, PhD was principal investigator of Project New Life, a type A intervention for patients who have had coronary artery bypass surgery. She was also the psychotherapy supervisor for a recent clinical trial that demonstrated reduced mortality for women cardiac patients enrolled in a group therapy program.  Sam Sears, PhD, is the world’s leading psychologist for patients who have received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).  ICD patients are at risk of sudden cardiac death and many are sudden death survivors.

Learning Objective 1
Describe a program that has demonstrated regression of coronary atherosclerosis.

Learning Objective 2
Comprehend the controversy surrounding the type A behavior pattern, the first psychosocial factor scientifically linked to coronary heart disease.

Learning Objective 3
Articulate the complex issues involved in psychotherapy for ICD patients.

Presenters: Robert Allan, PhD; Dean Ornish, MD; Greg Neimeyer, PhD; Gunilla Burell, PhD; and Samuel Sears, PhD.

Supplementary Materials

  • Ornish Slides Handout
  • Sears Slide Handout