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Family issues and sexual problems in cardiovascular disease

Session presentations
  • Marital quality and sexual activity: are there gender differences? Presented by Jan MARTENSSON (Jonkoping, SE) See the slides
  • Psychology and sexual function: what do we know? Presented by Elaine STEINKE (Wichita, US) See the slides
  • Psychological and cognitive-behavioural approaches for sexual therapy: how does one cope? Presented by Tialda HOEKSTRA (Groningen, NL) See the slides
  • Interventions to help the family cope. Presented by Anna STROMBERG (Linkoping, SE) See the slides
Cardiovascular Nursing

This morning we enjoyed a fascinating session on the evidence relating to how heart disease  has the potential to impair our sex lives, and have a much wider  impact on psychological well being and family functioning.

The session opened with a very informative presentation from Jan Martenson who clearly illustrated that sexual problems are highly prevalent in both genders and across all age groups.  Problems with arousal and orgasm are common for both genders but women have more fear of intercourse and higher levels of relationship conflict whereas men experience rejection of their sexual advances and low self esteem.  However, men and women differ in the quality of the marital relationship after heart disease with men experiencing greater satisfaction with their relationships than women, but the quality of the marital relationship having a more positive influence on survival for females.

Elaine Steinke from US followed by presenting evidence of the impact that cardiac disease can have on anxiety, depression and quality of life in cardiac patients – clearly concluding that education and support is required not just for the patient but their partners also. Then Tialda Hoekstra followed with a very enlightening talk on how we as health care professionals should approach these important discussions.  She reviewed the PLISSIT model (Permission, Limited Information, Specific Suggestions, and Intensive Therapy) which has been applied in a number of studies and shown to be effective, as a framework that doctors and nurses can use in their daily practice to guide their interventions. Anna Stromberg closed the session with an interesting overview of family based therapies that can help patients and their loved ones cope with heart disease and the impact it has on family functioning.




Family issues and sexual problems in cardiovascular disease

The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.