IMR Press / RCM / Volume 23 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.rcm2302050
Open Access Original Research
The impact of anxiety level on decision to seek medical care of non-COVID cardiac patients during the pandemic outbreak—single-center experience in Israel
Show Less
1 Heart Institute, Emek Medical Center, 1834111 Afula, Israel
2 Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, 3525433 Haifa, Israel
3 Internal Medicine C, Emek Medical Center, 1834111 Afula, Israel
4 The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, 1311502 Zefat, Israel
5 University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
6 Emergency Department, Emek Medical Center, 1834111 Afula, Israel
7 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Smidt Heart Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA
8 Med-Psych Service, Emek Medical Center, 1834111 Afula, Israel
*Correspondence: (Ofir Koren)
Academic Editor: Alpo Vuorio
Rev. Cardiovasc. Med. 2022, 23(2), 50;
Submitted: 22 November 2021 | Revised: 13 January 2022 | Accepted: 17 January 2022 | Published: 8 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Health and COVID-19)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has significantly the delivery of healthcare all around the world. In part, an abnormal and unexplained high non-COVID-related cardiovascular mortality rate was reported during the outbreak. We assess the correlation between anxiety level and decision to seek medical care (DSMC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and methods: We recruited patients with cardiovascular complaints admitted to the emergency department in a single institute in Israel between February and September 2020. Anxiety level was measured using available questionnaires. DSMC was assessed with a newly designed questionnaire (DM-19). Results: Two-hundreds seventy patients were included in the study. The mean age was 52.6 ± 14.9 (females represent 36.2%). 23.6% of the patients had at least moderate cardiovascular risk. High anxiety levels were (HAL) reported in nearly half of the patients (57.1% and 49.8% for General Anxiety Disorder Assessment [GAD-7] and Beck Anxiety Inventory [BAI], respectively). It was more prevalent in old, married, and unemployed patients (significant p-value for all in both questionnaires). Age was an independent factor (χ2 = 6.33, p < 0.001, odds-ratio: 4.8) and had a positive correlation on anxiety level (r = 0.81, p < 0.001 and r = 0.62, p < 0.001, for GAD-7 and BAI, respectively). The DM-19 revealed a strong and positive correlation of seeking medical care with anxiety level (R2 linear = 0.44, r = 0.70, p < 0.001 and R2 linear = 0.30, r = 0.58, p < 0.001 for GAD-7 and BAI, respectively) and results in deferring medical care for several days than patient with low anxiety level (p = 0.02). Conclusions: We observed an abnormal prevalence of a high level of anxiety among non-COVID patients with cardiovascular complaints, which affected the patient’s likelihood to seek medical care and resulted in an unreasonable postponement of medical treatment. Our results may explain cardiovascular mortality trends during the outbreak and should be considered in health crisis management. Future studies will involve multi-institutional efforts to address reproducibility of our findings across geographic regions in the state of the global impact. Additionally, it is imperative to understand the effects of the coronavirus vaccine on patient consideration to seek medical care.

chest pain
decision to seek medical care
cardiovascular diseases
Fig. 1.
Back to top