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Benefits of support groups for patients living with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: a mixed-methods systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Chousou, Panagiota Anna 
Carver, Kathryn 
Pugh, Peter J 
Degens, Hans 


BACKGROUND: Patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) experience anxiety, depression and reduced quality of life (QoL). OBJECTIVES: This mixed-methods systematic review evaluates whether ICD support groups have a beneficial effect on mental well-being. METHODS: Literature searches were carried out in MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Eligible studies investigated patient-led support groups for ICD patients aged 18 years or older, using any quantitative or qualitative design. The Mixed-Methods Assessment Tool was used to assess quality. Meta-analysis of measures of mental well-being was conducted. Thematic synthesis was used to generate analytic themes from the qualitative data. The data were integrated and presented using the Pillar Integration Process. RESULTS: Ten studies were included in this review. All studies bar one were non-randomised or had a qualitative design and patients had self-selected to attend a support group. Five contributed to the quantitative data synthesis and seven to the qualitative synthesis. Meta-analysis of anxiety and QoL measures showed no significant impact of support groups on mental well-being, but qualitative data showed that patients perceived benefit from attendance through sharing experiences and acceptance of life with an ICD. DISCUSSION: ICD support group attendance improved the patients' perceived well-being. Attendees value the opportunity to share their experiences which helps to accept their new life with an ICD. Future research could consider outcomes such as patient acceptance and the role of healthcare professionals at support groups.



Defibrillators, Implantable, Meta-Analysis, Ventricular Fibrillation, Defibrillators, Implantable, Health Personnel, Humans, Mental Health, Quality of Life, Self-Help Groups

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Open Heart

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