A subset of patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) reports psychological distress and poor quality of life (QoL). Gender is one of the factors that has been proposed to explain individual differences in these outcomes. In this viewpoint, we (1) review the evidence for gender disparities in psychological distress and QoL in ICD patients by means of a systematic review, and (2) provide recommendations for future research and clinical implications. A systematic search of the literature identified 18 studies with a sample size ≥ 100 that examined gender disparities in anxiety/depression and QoL in ICD patients (mean prevalence of women = 21%; mean age = 62 years). Our review shows that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that gender per se is a major autonomous predictor for disparities in psychological distress and QoL in ICD patients. Women had a higher prevalence of anxiety and poorer QoL in some studies, but there was no statistically significant gender effect in relation to 80% (26/32) of the outcomes reported in the 18 studies. Studies are warranted that are designed a priori and sufficiently powered to examine gender disparities in distress and QoL outcomes in order to establish the exact gender-specific effect. Due to a need to explore the complexity of this issue further, at this time, caution is warranted with respect to the clinical implications.
Brouwers, C., van den Broek, K. C., Denollet, J., & Pedersen, S. S. (2011). Gender disparities in psychological distress and quality of life among patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 34(7), 798-803. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-8159.2011.03084.x