Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 72–84 | Cite as

Predictors of Heart-Focused Anxiety in Patients Undergoing Genetic Investigation and Counseling of Long QT Syndrome or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A One Year Follow-up

  • Anniken Hamang
  • Geir Egil Eide
  • Berit Rokne
  • Karin Nordin
  • Cathrine Bjorvatn
  • Nina Øyen
Original Research


Since Long QT syndrome and Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are inherited cardiac disorders that may cause syncope, palpitations, serious arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death, at-risk individuals may experience heart-focused anxiety. In a prospective multi-site study, 126 Norwegian patients attending genetic counseling were followed 1 year with multiple administration of questionnaires, including the Cardiac Anxiety Questionnaire, measuring three distinct symptoms of heart-focused anxiety- avoidance, attention, and fear—in mixed linear analyses. Overall, at 1-year follow-up, patients with clinical diagnosis as compared to patients at genetic risk had significantly higher scores of avoidance (p < .002), attention (p < .005), and fear (p < .007). Sudden cardiac death in close relatives, uncertainty whether other relatives previously had undergone genetic testing, patients’ perceived general health, self-efficacy expectations and procedural satisfaction with genetic counseling were influential in predicting the different symptoms of heart-focused anxiety over time.


Long QT syndrome Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy Genetic counseling Heart-focused anxiety Sudden cardiac death 



The authors thank all patients who participated in the study. We also acknowledge all helpful assistance from the Genetic Departments in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. The project was supported financially by Western Norway Regional Health Authority and the University of Bergen.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anniken Hamang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Geir Egil Eide
    • 3
    • 4
  • Berit Rokne
    • 5
  • Karin Nordin
    • 5
    • 6
  • Cathrine Bjorvatn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nina Øyen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Genetic Epidemiology Research Group, Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Center for Medical Genetics and Molecular MedicineHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  3. 3.Centre for Clinical ResearchHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  4. 4.Research Group on Lifestyle Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  5. 5.Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  6. 6.Department of Public Health and Caring SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  7. 7.Section of Medical GeneticsTrondheimNorway

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