The physician himself may be a barrier to the rapid rehabilitation of his cardiac patient.
This fact is often ignored during the multi-faceted task of returning the "heart attack" victim to normal living, John F. Briggs, MD, reminded the American College of Chest Physicians.
Some practitioners are emotionally incapable of the tedious, time-consuming relationship demanded between physician and post-infarction patient. This is due, in large measure, to the uncertainties of cardiac disease.
"The cardiac patient is a threat to their (the physicians' security). The patient frustrates them. And this frustration is frequently reflected in the form of hostility to the patient," explained Dr. Briggs, University of Minnesota clinical professor of medicine.
Overtreatment, as well as undertreatment, of the patient may be the result, he told the Las Vegas sessions.
Indeed, the physician must convey an attitude of "self-confidence, self-assurance and optimism" to family and employer, as well as the patient.