If a patient is in a bad mood, their medical procedure may not go as smoothly, according to a new study.
Feeling anxious, stressed or all-around crummy could impact the outcome of a surgical procedure like an angioplasty, suggests the research, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
In the study, the researchers looked at 230 people who underwent minimal vascular and kidney procedures where a catheter was inserted into a blood vessel. Before the procedure, people filled out a questionnaire where they rated various adjectives describing how they felt, including: distressed, upset, guilty, scared, hostile, irritable, ashamed, nervous, jittery and afraid.
The study authors found that people who were more likely to have a greater degree of these negative feelings had a greater occurrence of adverse events from the procedure, like slow heart rate or abnormal blood pressure.
The findings are just a correlation—not causation—but they’re not the first to show a link between emotions and outcomes. According to study author Dr. Nadja Kadom, an acting associate professor of radiology at Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, physiological changes like high or low blood pressure or long bleeding times have been linked to negative mood in the past.
The researchers suggest that the findings, which need further study, underline a need for health care teams to embrace ways to improve patients’ feelings about the procedure and coping strategies.