Excess stress can lead to unexplained cardiac arrest

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Excess stress can lead to unexplained cardiac arrest

A new study suggests that emotional stress may be a trigger of otherwise unexplained cases of cardiac arrest. The research team found that survivors of unexplained or “idiopathic” cardiac arrest were likely to have been through a highly stressful event the day before suffering the often-fatal heart condition. The study findings indicate that psychosocial stress plays an important role in otherwise unexplained cardiac arrest.

In this study the researchers interviewed 25 IVF (Idiopathic Ventricular Fibrillation) survivors at 5 years after suffering unexplained cardiac arrest. The interviewers ask them about the life events during the 6 months and 24 hours preceding the cardiac event. This data is then compared with a group of 25 people, consisted of patients of myocardial infarction and angina pectoris requiring angioplasty but without cardiac arrest.

Afterwards the judges independently rated the written summaries of these interviews for psychosocial stress at each time point on a three point scale (low, moderate severe). The results reveal that during the six months (prior to a cardiac event), 20 patients had severe/moderate stress and 5 had low stress. On the other hand in the comparison group, 10 patients had severe/moderate stress and 15 had low stress. During the preceding 24 hours, nine patients with IVF had severe/moderate stress and 16 had low stress. In the other comparison group only 2 patients had severe/moderate stress and 22 had low stress.

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