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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 972106, 8 pages
Research Article

Design and Methods for a Pilot Study of a Phone-Delivered, Mindfulness-Based Intervention in Patients with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Room S3-855, Worcester, MA 01655, USA

Received 14 October 2011; Revised 9 January 2012; Accepted 10 January 2012

Academic Editor: Myeong Soo Lee

Copyright © 2012 Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Meditation practices are associated with a reduction in adrenergic activity that may benefit patients with severe cardiac arrhythmias. This paper describes the design and methods of a pilot study testing the feasibility of a phone-delivered mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) for treatment of anxiety in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Design and Methods. Consecutive, clinically stable outpatients (n=52) will be screened for study eligibility within a month of an ICD-related procedure or ICD shock and will be randomly assigned to MBI or to usual care. MBI patients will receive eight weekly individual phone sessions based on two mindfulness practices (awareness of breath and body scan) plus home practice with a CD for 20 minutes daily. Patients assigned to usual care will be offered the standard care planned by the hospital. Assessments will occur at baseline and at the completion of the intervention (between 9 and 12 weeks after randomization). The primary study outcome is feasibility; secondary outcomes include anxiety, mindfulness, and number of administered shocks during the intervention period. Conclusions. If proven feasible and effective, phone-delivered mindfulness-based interventions could improve psychological distress in ICD outpatients with serious cardiovascular conditions.