Explanation of health anxiety in patients following open heart surgery: a qualitative study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Medical-Surgical Nursing Department, Zahedan Nursing and Midwifery School, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran

2 Department of Nursing, Islamic Azad University, Zarand Branch, Zarand, Ira



Background: Health anxiety is one of the most prevalent psychological reactions observed in patients after open heart surgery.
Thus, the present study was conducted to explain health anxiety in these patients.
Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 patients with a history of open heart surgery in educational
hospitals affiliated to Zahedan University of Medical Sciences in 2023-2024. The interviews were immediately transcribed and
underwent conventional content analysis. MAXQDA 2022 software was used for data categorization and data were also analyzed
using the method proposed by Lundman and Graneheim.
Results: According to the current study results, open heart surgery can lead to health anxiety among patients. This anxiety appears
as mental turmoil, ineffective psychological reactions to the disease, pathological search for information and treatment, and the
incidence of mood disorders.
Conclusion: The results of the present research demonstrate that open heart surgery is a stressor and patients develop health
anxiety after surgery. Hence, it is suggested that hospitals pay attention to patients’ health anxiety in their educational programs,
consultations, and rehabilitation programs and design and implement influential psychological interventions in the form of
standard protocols to be used at the level of hospitals and cardiac rehabilitation centers.


Main Subjects