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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Cardiac Behavioral Medicine OLD

Medical studies show that the mind and body are strongly linked. If you start to wear down from stress, depression, or anxiety, then your cardiac and vascular health can decline too. Similarly, cardiovascular symptoms or a cardiovascular diagnosis can make you feel mentally "down." Patients with cardiovascular disease often experience changes in stress and emotional functioning throughout the course of diagnosis and treatment. Emotional well-being is important because depression and stress impact the quality of a person's life and can increase the chance that a patient experiences a future cardiovascular event. Treatment for cardiovascular disease also may involve making lifestyle changes that can be difficult for some patients to make on their own.

Treatments for cardiovascular disease are most successful when they focus on the physical, emotional, and behavioral health of the patient. Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offers Cardiac Behavioral Medicine services, which include comprehensive care in the evaluation and treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease. Cardiac Behavioral Medicine helps patients and their families adjust to a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and provides support for patients who require cardiovascular surgery. Patients are educated about the role of emotions and stress in their cardiovascular health. They are taught new ways of relaxing and coping so that their heart is not harmed by daily stress and hassles. Lifestyle behavior changes are addressed in a supportive setting to help patients achieve their goals of quitting smoking, losing weight, or adhering to a new exercise regimen. 

Kim L. Feingold, PhD, director of Cardiac Behavioral Medicine and Gail M. Osterman, PhD  specialize in helping cardiovascular patients adjust to a diagnosis and become more resilient throughout the course of treatment. Their techniques include strategies that facilitate behavior change, improve coping strategies, minimize stress, aid with extended hospitalizations, and prepare for an upcoming procedure or surgery.

Cardiac Behavioral Medicine is helpful for a variety of presenting issues, including stress, depression, anxiety, panic, perfectionism, adjustment to a medical diagnosis, coping with a chronic illness, relaxation training, smoking cessation, hypnosis, behavior changes, and preparation for an upcoming cardiovascular surgery or procedure. Various support groups also are available throughout the year.


To schedule an evaluation or inquire about services regarding Cardiac Behavioral Medicine through the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, please call 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateApril 26, 2013