Development of a Cardiac Distress Scale

Despite the high prevalence of distress amongst cardiac patients, there is currently no validated instrument to measure patients’ level of distress or to identify the areas of their illness that are contributing to their distress. We are developing the Cardiac Distress Scale, a parallel measure to the Diabetes Distress Scale and similar to a range of cancer distress measures.

 ‘Distress’ includes a range of emotions that many patients experience after an acute event – namely, anxiety, worry, guilt, anger, sadness. and depression. 'Cardiac distress' is the distress that patients experience in relation to their cardiac illness or diagnosis and in their management of their symptoms and the condition. It includes issues such as adjusting to the diagnosis and the need to make lifestyle changes, difficulties with medications and appointments, concerns about the future, worries about having another cardiac event, concerns about family members... just to name a few. 

The Cardiac Distress Scale will help health professionals by enabling accurate assessment of distress, thus enabling more targeted support.

We are collaborating with researchers from a range of other institutions in undertaking this project.

Funding: Australian Centre for Heart Health