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Rivista di Angiologia

Official Journal of the International Union of Angiology, the International Union of Phlebology and the Central European Vascular Forum
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International Angiology 2012 August;31(4):376-85


Attitude towards one’s illness vs. attitude towards a surgical operation, displayed by patients diagnosed with asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysm and asymptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis

Stanisić M. 1, Rzepa T. 2

1 Department of General and Vascular Surgery, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland; 2 Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poznań, Poland


AIM: Two most frequent asymptomatic diseases qualifying for vascular surgery are abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS). Emotions experienced by the patient activate processes of dealing with the cognitive dissonance of asymptomatic disease. The aim of this paper was to compare the reasons involved in decision making on surgery in two asymptomatic vascular pathologies.
METHODS: Fifty patients were divided into two groups: the ICAS group-27 (CAS or CEA) and the AAA group-23 (EVAR or open surgical operation (OSR). Specific questionnaire regarding: 1) self-image; 2) attitude to one’s illness; 3) reasons for decision on surgery was applied for the study. The χ²test was used to for the analysis.
RESULTS: The AAA patients reacted emotionally (88.2%) comparing to ICAS patients reacting „rationally” (59.3%) (α=0.05). In AAA patients attitude towards themselves had worsened (α=0.001) AAA patients were less likely to seek support in decision on surgery (α=0.01). ICAS patients are internally motivated (78.7%), whereas AAA patients are externally motivated (63.9%) (α=0.001). Reasons underlying the decision on surgery, were predominantly rational (55.8%).
CONCLUSION: In the process of decision-making on surgery by asymptomatic patients, evolutionary transformation takes place - the emotional attitude to one’s illness leads to rationally evaluated decision. Regardless of the causes the process of making a decision on surgical operation tended to run more smoothly in ICAS patients. The ICAS patients tended to display a rational attitude to their illness. AAA patients displayed a distinctly emotional attitude towards their illness.

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