Clue May Explain Mystery of Emotionally-Triggered Sudden Cardiac Arrest

May 06, 2005, 01:00 ET from Heart Rhythm Society

    NEW ORLEANS, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Cardiac arrhythmias brought on by anger
 are more deadly than arrhythmias not caused by extreme emotion, according to a
 new study presented today at HEART RHYTHM 2005, the Heart Rhythm Society's
 26th Annual Scientific Sessions.  The new study finds that the electrical
 characteristics of anger-triggered arrhythmias are more disorganized and
 unstable than arrhythmias unrelated to emotional events -- a possible clue
 explaining why sudden cardiac arrest increases in people during stressful
     "Our study suggests that anger is associated with more dangerous
 arrhythmias, which could possibly be due to the higher adrenaline levels
 associated with anger and stress," says Matthew Stopper, MD, lead author in
 the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.  "This could
 be a contributing factor as to why the rate of sudden death increases during
 natural disasters and war."
     The Yale investigators had previously shown that anger predisposed people
 to having arrhythmias.  They asked 24 patients with implantable cardiac
 defibrillators (ICDs) to keep a diary of their emotions before they received a
 shock for a cardiac arrhythmia.  Using data from this earlier work, the
 current study compared the electrical characteristics of anger-triggered
 arrhythmias against arrhythmias not associated with anger.  The new study
 finds that all anger-triggered arrhythmias were initiated by one or more
 premature ventricular contractions (PVC), while 68 percent of arrhythmias not
 caused by anger were initiated by PVCs.
     "This study provides valuable insight into the mystery surrounding these
 heart disorders caused by anger," says Stephen C. Hammill, MD, the Heart
 Rhythm Society's president.  "Learning more about the electrical
 characteristics of these emotionally-triggered events could help in the
 prevention and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest."
     HEART RHYTHM 2005 is May 4-7 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in
      New Orleans.
     The meeting is the most comprehensive educational event on heart rhythm
 disorders, offering over 400 educational opportunities in multiple formats and
 over 125 innovative products and services for the heart rhythm management
 field.  The world's most renowned scientists and physicians will present a
 wide range of heart rhythm topics including advances in statins, cardiac
 resynchronization therapy, catheter ablation, cardiac pacing and heart failure
 and the latest technology, including state-of-the-art pacemakers and
     For more information, please visit the Heart Rhythm Society website at

SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society