Marfan syndrome is a genetic disease, presenting with dysfunction of connective tissues leading to lesions in the cardiovascular and skeletal muscle system. Within these symptoms, the most typical is weakness of the connective tissue in the aorta, manifesting as aortic dilatation (aneurysm). This could, in turn, become annuloaortic ectasia, or life-threatening dissection. As a result, life-saving and preventative cardiac surgical interventions are frequent among Marfan syndrome patients. Aortic aneurysm could turn into annuloaortic ectasia or life-threatening dissection, thus life-saving and preventive cardiac surgical interventions are frequent among patients with Marfan syndrome. We hypothesized that patients with Marfan syndrome have different level of anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life compared to that of the non-clinical patient population.
Patients diagnosed with Marfan syndrome were divided into 3 groups: those scheduled for prophylactic surgery, those needing acute surgery, and those without need for surgery (n = 9, 19, 17, respectively). To examine the psychological features of the patients, Spielberger's anxiety (STAI) test, Beck's Depression questionnaire (BDI), the Berne Questionnaire of Subjective Well-being, and the Satisfaction with Life scale were applied.
A significant difference was found in trait anxiety between healthy individuals and patients with Marfan syndrome after acute life-saving surgery (p < 0.01). The mean score of Marfan syndrome patients was 48.56 (standard deviation (SD): 5.8) as compared to the STAI population mean score of 43.72 (SD: 8.53). No difference was found between groups on the BDI (p > 0.1). Finally, a significant, medium size effect was found between patient groups on the Joy in Living scale (F (2.39) = 3.51, p = 0.040, η(2) = 0.15).
Involving psychiatric and mental-health care, in addition to existing surgical treatment interventions, is essential for more successful recovery of patients with Marfan syndrome.