Anxiety and Cardiovascular Disease

Anxiety and Cardiovascular Disease

Kim L. Feingold, PhD, director of Cardiac Behavioral Medicine, Gail M. Osterman, PhD, and Paul Goetz, PhD, specialize in helping patients and their families adjust to a diagnosis and cope with challenges throughout the course of treatment. Their techniques include strategies that encourage behavior change, improve coping strategies, minimize stress, reduce emotional distress, help with extended hospitalizations, and prepare for an upcoming procedure or surgery.

Patients with cardiovascular disease—in particular, those with implantable cardiac devices including pacemakers and ventricular assist devices—have a higher incidence of anxiety. It’s common to feel a loss of control or predictability, which can create symptoms of anxiety including:

  • Loss of sleep
  • Jittery feelings
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Anxiety can slow healing and increase the risk of repeat cardiac events, but it is manageable. The Northwestern Medicine Cardiac Behavioral Medicine team helps patients develop strategies that minimize anxiety, including relaxation exercises, visualization, breathing techniques and more.

Patients with anxiety related to their cardiovascular disease may also experience depression or stress, and may benefit from changing lifestyle behaviors. We also offer guidance on recovery from a cardiac event and help with preparing for and recovering from surgery.

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).


Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: