• anxiety;
  • depression;
  • functional capacity;
  • mitral valve disease;
  • women

Mitral valve stenosis can lead to a range of symptoms that affect daily life. As many of the people with this problem are elderly, the difficulties resulting from age can be exacerbated by illness. A pilot descriptive study was designed to examine the differences in anxiety, depression and functional capacity in women with mitral valve stenosis who were aged over 60 years when compared to a similar group of volunteers who did not have any cardiac disease. Measurement was undertaken using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, the SF-36 Health Status questionnaire and the Functional Limitations Profile. Forty women were recruited to the study: 20 women with mitral valve stenosis and 20 volunteers. Each person was asked to complete the three questionnaires on one occasion only. Non-parametric statistics were used for analysis. Patients fared worse than volunteers with significant differences between groups in respect of anxiety (P = 0.03), depression (P = 0.02) and overall function (P < 0.001), but not in physical (P = 0.52) or mental health (P = 0.32). Future research could focus on strategies that would help alleviate anxiety and depression and improve functional capacity in older women with mitral valve stenosis.