Call your doctor before leaving home if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms

Due to the presence of COVID-19 in our community, visitor restrictions are in place for all Duke clinics and hospitals. For your safety and the safety of others, we recommend patients do not bring a visitor to Duke clinics, if at all possible. If a visitor must accompany a patient, only one individual over 12 years of age is allowed. Patients and visitors will be screened for symptoms upon arrival. Individuals with flu-like symptoms are not allowed. View the complete list of Visitor Restrictions.

Effective immediately, Duke Health is prioritizing and rescheduling some non-emergent or non-critical surgeries, procedures, and appointments. Check our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) page for updates.

Exercise and Pharmacotherapy for Anxiety in Cardiac Patients - Clinical Trial

What is the Purpose of this Study?

We are doing this study to learn more about the effects of aerobic exercise and medication on symptoms of worry and stress in adults with coronary heart disease.
What is the Condition Being Studied?
Heart disease with worry, stress, or tension 

Who Can Participate in the Study?

Adults age 40 and older who:
- Have a history of heart disease (e.g., stent, heart attack, bypass graft, or angina)  
- Have symptoms of worry, stress, tension, nervousness, panic, or anxiety  
- Are not currently taking medication to enhance mood  
- Are not currently in a formal exercise program

For more information about who can be in this study, please contact the study team.

Age Group

What is Involved?

If you choose to join this study, you will:

- Have a screening visit that includes questionnaires, a physical, and an interview  
- Have baseline pre-treatment procedures, like an exercise stress test, blood work, and an ultrasound of your blood vessels
- Be randomized (like flipping a coin) to one of three 12-week treatment groups:
--- Group 1: Exercise at a local cardiac rehab facility 3 days/week
--- Group 2: Medication pill (escitalopram (Lexapro)) taken daily plus 5 clinic visits
--- Group 3: Placebo pill (inactive like a sugar pill) taken daily plus 5 clinic visits

- Have post-treatment assessments, the same as you did during the screening visit 

- Have one follow-up visit 6 months after the study, which involves questionnaires, an interview, and a walk test

Study Details

Full Title
Exercise and Pharmacotherapy for Anxiety in Cardiac Patients
Principal Investigator
Clinical Psychologist
Protocol Number
IRB: PRO00064329
NCT: NCT02516332
Contact the Duke Recruitment Innovation Center