Angry heart can trigger sudden death

February 25th, 2009 - 11:05 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 25 (IANS) Beware of doubling up in fury against someone who said or did something to offend you on the road or at a party or at a public place.
The latest research from Yale School of Medicine (YSM) warns that changes brought on by anger or other strong emotions trigger arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrests, which kills 4,00,000 people annually in the US alone.

Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. They can cause the heart to pump less effectively.

The team led by Rachel Lampert, associate professor of medicine at YSM, studied 62 patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) and enlarged hearts.

They were monitored three months after the ICD was implanted and then given a mental stress test requiring them to recall a stressful situation that angered them.

Lampert’s work builds on past research linking strong emotion to sudden cardiac death. It has been found that devastating disasters, such as earthquakes, are linked to sudden death.

Lampert and her team sought to discover whether T-wave alternans (TWA), which monitor electrical instability in the heart induced by anger, would predict future ventricular arrhythmias.

The team found that those in the group with more anger-induced electrical instability were more likely to experience arrhythmias one year after the study than those in the control group.

“Further studies are needed to determine whether there is a role for therapies which may reduce anger and the body’s response to stress, thereby preventing arrhythmias in those at risk,” said Lampert, according to an YSM release.

These findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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