Jama logoAround last week we came across a UPS study that suggested traditional methods for examining patients after cardiac arrest may lower their chances for survival and good outcomes. Elevated risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and death have now been linked to anxiety disorders in patients with heart disease.

Previous analyses reveal that patients with heart disease apparently have symptoms of anxiety. Scientists examined 1,015 patients with stable coronary heart disease. This examination proceeded through interviews, blood and urine sample testing, exercise testing and electrocardiography. With the help of computerized version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule anxiety and depressive disorder was highlighted.

Authors reveal, “Compared with the extensive literature on depression in patients with coronary heart disease, relatively few studies have examined the role of anxiety. Several studies have found that anxiety symptoms are predictive of disability, increased physical symptoms and worse functional status and quality of life in patients with coronary heart disease. However, studies examining anxiety as a risk factor for future coronary heart disease have yielded conflicting results.”

Experts observed a total of 371 cardiovascular events occurred post follow-up time of 5.6 years. Modifying the age, yearly cardiovascular events was observed to be 9.6 percent among 106 participants with anxiety and 6.6 percent among 909 participants without. Further they altered various variables specifically sex, co-occurring conditions, heart disease severity and medication use. They identified anxiety disorder to be linked with a 74 percent elevated risk of cardiovascular events.

Authors elucidate, “These findings have implications for clinical practice and research. Generalized anxiety disorder may be considered a prognostic factor in patients with coronary heart disease and could be used in risk stratification. Evaluation and treatment of anxiety may also be considered as part of the comprehensive management of patients with coronary heart disease. Research programs designed to advance our understanding of the impact of generalized anxiety disorders on medical prognosis and biobehavioral mechanisms that link anxiety to mortality in the context of coronary heart disease are needed to develop evidence-based approaches to improving patient care.”

Scientists associated with the study reveal that anxiety may be linked with increase in catecholamines known to be fight or flight hormones that may be related to heart risks. Patients may apparently receive more care when inclined to symptoms of anxiety. They may further receive a diagnosis of heart attack or stroke; however this does not underline the augmented risk of death. They further assume there may be a factor that encompasses both anxiety and heart events.

These findings are according to a report in the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.