Effects of Mental Stress Increase Risk of Death in Coronary Artery Disease

DALLAS, TX — March 26, 2002 — Mental stress can trigger a lack of blood flow to the heart and increase the risk of death in people with coronary artery disease, researchers report in today's rapid access Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Patients who had ischemia in response to mental stress had a three-fold increase in the risk of death compared to people without mental stress," says David S. Sheps, MD, lead author and associate chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Florida Health Sciences Center, Gainesville. "This adds to a growing body of evidence that links mental stress and bad outcomes in individuals with coronary artery disease."

Previous studies have shown that reduced blood flow during mental stress tests is linked to significantly higher rates of adverse cardiac events. These studies weren't designed to detect differences in death rates, however.

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