Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study suggests sensitivity to bodily symptoms of anxiety may make a difference in treatment

25.10.2010
Levels of anxiety sensitivity may be important in choosing medical treatment for patients with heart failure and atrial fibrillation (AF), Montreal Heart Institute researchers today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher and lead author Nancy Frasure-Smith, PhD explained that anxiety sensitivity is the degree to which a person is frightened by bodily sensations and symptoms, particularly those associated with anxiety.

"For most people, sweaty palms and an increasing heart rate are simply unpleasant symptoms that occur in stressful situations, for others these same symptoms are interpreted as a sign of impending doom," says Dr. Frasure-Smith. "People with high anxiety sensitivity tend to magnify the potential consequences of their anxiety symptoms, leading to an increase in anxiety and its symptoms in a spiralling increase of fear and worry."

While anxiety sensitivity is known to predict the occurrence of panic attacks in cardiac and non-cardiac patients, and is associated with greater symptom preoccupation and worse quality of life in patients with AF, it has not been previously studied as a predictor of cardiac outcomes.

These results are based on a sub-study from the Atrial Fibrillation and Congestive Heart Failure Trial (AF-CHF), a randomized trial of rhythm versus rate control treatment strategies whose results were presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in 2008. AF-CHF, which was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, was directed by Dr. Denis Roy, cardiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) and vice-dean of the Université de Montréal's faculty of medicine.

Prior to randomization 933 AF-CHF study participants completed a paper and pencil measure of anxiety sensitivity. They were then randomly placed in one of two treatment groups: a 'rhythm' group that was treated with anti-arrhythmic medication and cardioversion (an electric shock to convert an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal rhythm); and a 'rate' group that received medication to help keep people's heart rates within a certain range.

Participants were followed for an average of 37 months. Results showed that, as in the overall AF-CHF trial, the majority of patients had as good a prognosis with the rate control strategy as with the rhythm control approach. In contrast, patients with high anxiety sensitivity had significantly better outcomes if they were treated with the more complicated rhythm control strategy.

"Increased emotional responses to AF symptoms in people with high anxiety sensitivity may lead to increased levels of stress hormones making them more vulnerable to fatal arrhythmias and worsening heart failure," says Dr. Frasure-Smith, a researcher at the MHI, adjunct professor of psychiatry at University of Montreal and professor of psychiatry at McGill University.

"For AF-CHF patients with high anxiety sensitivity maintenance of normal sinus rhythm appears to be important."

AF is a common type of heart arrhythmia which affects approximately a quarter of a million Canadians, including up to forty percent of individuals with congestive heart failure.

During AF the upper chamber of the heart (the atria) beats irregularly and very rapidly. Patients may experience palpitations, shortness of breath or chest pain. While by itself AF is usually not fatal, it increases the chances of heart failure and stroke. When AF and heart failure occur together, there is an increased risk of fatal outcomes, so finding the best treatment for each patient is extremely important.

"While the study − a sub analysis of a larger trial – is not definitive in itself, it does raise interesting questions," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson. We tend to underestimate the power of the mind in patients on powerful heart medications. Mental well being however is an important aspect of care for all heart patients."

Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Foundation or CCS policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

For more information and/or interviews, contact the CCC 2010 MEDIA OFFICE AT 514-789-3407 (Oct 24-27)

OR
Emily Bradshaw
Massy-Forget Public Relations
514-842-2455, ext. 29
Cell: 514-926-7154
ebradshaw@mfrp.com
Congress information and media registration is at www.cardiocongress.org
After October 28, 2010, contact:
Jane-Diane Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
(613) 569-4361 ext 273, jfraser@hsf.ca

Jane-Diane Fraser | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hsf.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>