Ten coronary artery disease patients were selected using purposive method of sampling and observed for six hours. It was postulated that 1) Human contact with coronary artery disease patients in the coronary intensive care unit would be associated with significant (p = 0.05) changes in the electrocardiogram such as: (a) increased heart rate more than 10 per cent, (b) changed atrio-ventricular conduction more than 10 per cent, (c) changed ST segment one millimeter or more and (d) increased frequency of ectopic beats more than 10 per cent. 2) The degree of stress and cardiac response was related to a number of independent variables which were stated as follows: (a) the closer the contact, the greater the cardiac effect; (b) the greater the number of individuals in the contact, the greater the cardiac effect, (c) there was a direct relationship between the degree of change in cardiac response and the role of the contact person, (d) the greater the number of contacts by the same nurse, the lesser the cardiac effects.

The research method was a descriptive survey of the cardiovascular events and changes on the patient's electrocardiogram that occurred before, during, and after each human contact. There was no manipulation of the independent variables. Due to this and the fact that the patient's knowledge of the observations might have affected the outcome, there was no consent form.

The standard t-test and the general linear model for analysis of variance and regression were used to test for significant (p = 0.05) relationships between the independent variables and the dependent cardiac responses. The findings did not attain the postulated level of significance so the hypotheses were rejected. However, the data did include a mean 5 per cent increase in heart rate during human contact that was statistically significant at the 0.001 level but did not meet the hypothesized 10 per cent increase. There was also a positive trend toward significance for the number of ectopic beats during the contacts. One of the independent variables, distance of the contact, did significantly (p = 0.05) affect the number of ectopic beats after the contact. This was not true during the contacts and that hypothesis had to be rejected.

These findings, along with previous research on human contact, suggest the importance of larger sample populations to test the relationships of various types of human contact and their effects on the cardiovascular system. The information that there was a general increase in heart rate with each contact should alert nurses to control the patients environment and to make more intelligent decisions regarding the type and frequency of human contact that their patients can tolerate, both physically and psychologically.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Lucile Lewis

Second Advisor

Jeannette Earnhardt

Third Advisor

Evelyn L. Elwell

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Coronary Disease -- nursing; Coronary Care Units



Page Count

ix; 96

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives