Samuel F. Sears, Jr., PhD

Samuel F. Sears, Jr.


Departments of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences
215 Rawl Hall, Greenville, NC 27858-4353

252-328-6118 (phone)
252-328-6283 (fax)

Clinical referrals: 252-744-4400

Dr. Sears' Cardiac Psychology Research

Research Interests

  • The Effects of Brief Peri-Operative ICD Patient Education
  • Pros and Cons of Receiving an ICD
  • Psychosocial Adjustment of Young ICD Patients
  • Acute Patient Response to ICD Shocks
  • Sleep Quality and ICD Patients
  • Post-traumatic Stress and Cardiac Patients
  • Activities and Avoidance Behaviors in ICD Patients
  • Quality of Life in Cardiac Surgery Patients


  • Undergraduate: University of Florida, 1990 (B.S. Psychology)
  • Graduate Studies: University of Florida, 1992 (M.S. Clinical and Health Psychology)
  • Residency: University of Mississippi Medical Center / Veterans Affairs, 1994-1995
  • Ph.D.: University of Florida, 1995
    • Major - Clinical and Health Psychology
    • Minor - Medical Psychology


Gehi, A., Sears, S.F., Goli, N., Walker, J., Chung, E., Schwartz, J., Wood, K., Guise, K., & Mounsey, J. (2012). Psychopathology and symptoms of atrial fibrillation: implications for therapy. J Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Jacob, S., Panaich, S.S., Zalawadiya, S.K., McKelvey, G., Abraham, G., Aravindhakshan, R., Sears, S.F., Conti, J.B., & Marsh, H.M. (2012). Phantom shocks unmasked: Clinical data and proposed mechanism of memory reactivation of past traumatic shocks in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. J Interventional Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

James CA, Tichnell C, Murray B, Daly A, Sears SF, Calkins H. (In press). General and disease-specific psychosocial adjustment in arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: A large cohort study. Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.

Wilson, M.H., Engelke, M.K., Sears, S.F., & Swanson, M.S., & Neil, J.A. (In press). Disease-specific quality of life-Racial and gender differences in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. J of Cardiovascular Nursing.

Versteeg, H., Starrenburg, A., Denollet, J., van der Palen, J., Sears, S.F., & Pedersen, S.S. (In press). Monitoring device acceptance in implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients using the Florida Patient Acceptance Survey. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, In press.

Sears S.F., Hauf, J.D., Kirian, K., Hazelton, A.G., Conti, M.D. (2011). Post-traumatic stress and the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patient: What the electrophysiologist needs to know. Circulation: Arrhythm Electrophysiol, 4, 242-250.

Snipes, G., Rosman, J.Z., & Sears, S.F. (2011). End of life and heart rhythm devices: How do I handle death and dying issues with ICD and cardiac pacemaker. Heart Rhythm Society, 1-4.

Chair, SY, Lee, CK, Choi, KC, & Sears, S.F. (2011). Quality of life outcomes in Chinese patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 34, 858-867.

Irvine, J., Firestone, J., Ong, L., Cribbie, R., Dorian, P., Harris, L., Ritvo, P., Katz, J., Newman, D., Cameron, D., Johnson, S., Bilanovic, A., Hill, A., O'Donnell, S., & Sears, S.F. (2011). A randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavior therapy tailored to psychological adaptation to an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Psychosomatic Medicine, 73, 226-233.

Hauf, J.D., Cutitta, K.E., Woodrow, L.K., Kirian, K., & Sears, S.F. (2011). Caring for the heart and mind in ICD patients. Cardiac Electrophysiology Clinics, 3, 451-462.

Sears, S.F., Hazelton, A.G., St.Amant, J., Matchett, M., Kovacs, A., Vazquez, L.D., Fairbrother, D., Redfearn, S., Hanisch, D., Dubin A., Cannon, B.C., Fishbach, P., Kanter, R., & Bryant, R.M. (2011). Quality of life in pediatric patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators. American Journal of Cardiology, 107, 1023-1027.

Keren, A., Sears, S.F., Nery, P., Green, M.S., Lemery, R., Gollob, M.H., Amyotte, B., & Birnie, D.H. (2011). Psychological adjustment in ICD patients living with advisory Fidelis leads. Journal of Cardiac Electrophysiology, 22, 57-63.

Eapen, ZJ, Peterson, ED, Fonarow, GC, Sanders, GD,Yancy, CW, Sears, SF, Carlson, MD, Curtis, AB, Hall, LL, Hayes, DL, Hernandez, AF, Mirro, M, Prystowsky, E, Russo, AM, Thomas, KL, & Al-Khatib, SM. (2011). Quality of care for sudden cardiac arrest: Proposed steps to improve the translation of evidence into practice. American Heart Journal.

Vazquez, L.D., Staples, N., Sears, S.F., & Klodell, C. (2011). Psychosocial functioning of patients with hyperhidrosis after endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery, 39, 1018-1021.

Sears, S.F., Kirian, K., Matchett, M., Benton, C., Nekkanti, R. (in press). Family matters: Research and clinical management of psychosocial issues for ICD patients and ICD partners. In A. Tsiperfal (Ed.), Practical Cardiac Arrhythmia Management for Nurses and Associated Professionals. 311-326.

Sears, S.F.,Matchett, M., Vazquez, L.D., & Conti, J.B. (2011). Innovations in psychosocial care for implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients. In R. Allen., & J. Fisher. (Eds.), Heart and Mind: Cardiac Psychology (2nd Edition). 437-458.

Sears, S.F. & Kirian, K. (2010). Shock and patient-centered outcomes research: Is an ICD shock still a critical event? Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 33, 1437-1441.

Vazquez, L.D., Sears, S.F., Shea, J.B., & Vazquez, P.M. (2010). Sexual health and the ICD patient. Circulation, 122, e465-467.

Cross, N.J., McCrae, C.S., Smith, K.M., Conti, J.B., & Sears, S.F. (2010) Comparison of actigraphic and subjective measures of sleep in ICD and CAD patients. Clinical Cardiology. 33, 753-759.

Kong, M.H., Peterson, E.D., Fonarow, G.C., Sanders, G.D., Yancy, C.W., Russo, A.M., Curtis, A.B., Sears, S.F., Thomas, K.L., Campbell, S., Carlson, M.D., Chiames, C., Cook, N.L., Hayes, D.L., LaRue, M., Hernandez, A.F., Lyons, E.L., & Al-Khatib., S.M. (2010). Addressing disparities in sudden cardiac arrest care and the underutilization of effective therapies. American Heart Journal, 160, 605-618.

Vazquez, L.D., Conti, J.B., & Sears, S.F. (2010). Female-specific education, management, and lifestyle enhancement for implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients: The FEMALE-ICD study. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 33,1131-1140.

Dixit, N.K., Vazquez, L.D., Cross, N.J., Kuhl, E.A., Serber, E.,R., Kovacs, A., Dede, D.E., Conti, J.B., & Sears, S.F. (2010). Cardiac resynchronization therapy: A pilot study examining cognitive change in patients before and after treatment. Clinical Cardiology, 33, 84-88.

Irvine, J., Firestone, J., Ong, L., Cribbie, R., Dorian, P., Harris, L., Ritvo, P., Katz, J., Newman, D., Cameron, D., Johnson, S., Bilanovic, A., Hill, A., O'Donnell, S., & Sears, S.F. (2010). Cognitive behavior therapy tailored to psychological adaptation for recipients of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator: An examination of participant characteristics related to therapy engagement. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 24, 246-264.

Sears, S.F., Matchett, M., & Conti, J.B. (2009). Effective management of ICD patient psychosocial issues and patient critical events. Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, 20, 1297-1304.

Kirian, K.B., Sears, S.F., Shea, J.B. (2009). How to respond to an implantable cardioverter defibrillator recall. Circulation, 119, e189-191.

Hazelton, A.G., Sears, S.F., Kirian, K., Matchett, M., & Shea, J.B. (2009). Cardiac partner page: Coping with cardiac disease and my partner's ICD. Circulation, 120, e73-e76.

Kuhl EA, Sears SF, Vazquez LD, Conti JB. (2009). Patient Assisted Computerized Education for Recipients of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (PACER): A randomized controlled trial of the PACER Program. J Cardiovasc Nurs, 24, 225-231.

Sears, S.F., St Amant, J., & Zeigler, V. (2009). Psychosocial considerations for children and young adolescents with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: An update. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 32, s80-s82.

Hirsh, A.T., Sears, S.F., & Conti, J.B. (2009). Cognitive and behavioral treatments for anxiety and depression in a patient with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD): A case report and clinical discussion, J of Clin Psychology in Med Settings, 16, 270-279.

Passman, R., Kadish, A., & Sears, S.F. (2009). HRQL with defibrillator therapy or amiodarone in heart failure. New England Journal of Medicine, 360, 188-189.

Kovacs AH, Saidi AS, Kuhl EA, Sears S.F., Silversides C, Harrison JL, Ong L, Colman J, Oechslin E, Nolan RP. (2009). Depression and anxiety in adults with congenital heart disease: prevalence and predictors. International Journal of Cardiology, 137, 158-164.

Pedersen, SS, Sears, SF., Burg, M., van den Broek, KC (2009). Does ICD indication affect quality of life and levels of distress? Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 32: 153-156.

Matchett, M., Sears, S.F., Hazelton, G., Kirian, K., Wilson, E., & Nekkanti, R. (2009).The implantable cardioverter defibrillator: Its history, its current psychological impact, and its future. Expert Review of Medical Devices, 6, 43-50.

Birnie, D.H., Sears S.F., Green, M.S., Lemery, R, Gollob, M, & Amyotte, B. (2009). No long-term psychological morbidity living with an ICD under advisory: The Medtronic Marquis experience, Europace, 11, 26-30.

Mishkin, JD, Saxonhouse, SJ, Woo, GW, Burkart, TA, Miles, WM, Conti, JB, Schofield, RS, Sears, SF, & Aranda, JM. (2009). Appropriate evaluation and treatment of heart failure patients after implantable cardiac defibrillator therapy: Time to go beyond the initial shock. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 54, 1993-2000.