Financial Support: Funding for this study was provided by NHLBI HL68764, HL51618, and HL33843, the Warmer Foundation and the University of Rochester.
Happiness and Stress Alter Susceptibility to Cardiac Events in Long QT Syndrome
Version of Record online: 14 APR 2009
©2009, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology
Volume 14, Issue 2, pages 193–200, April 2009
How to Cite
Lane, R. D., Reis, H. T., Peterson, D. R., Zareba, W. and Moss, A. J. (2009), Happiness and Stress Alter Susceptibility to Cardiac Events in Long QT Syndrome. Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology, 14: 193–200. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-474X.2009.00295.x
- Issue online: 14 APR 2009
- Version of Record online: 14 APR 2009
- long QT syndrome;
- sudden cardiac death
Objective: We sought to determine whether the circumstances preceding an arrhythmic event differed from those preceding a prior control occasion in patients with Long QT Syndrome (LQTS), a well-characterized genetic disorder that puts affected individuals at risk for sudden cardiac death.
Methods: Thirty-eight patients (89% female) with LQTS completed a “case-crossover interview” in which each patient served as his/her own control by reporting on circumstances preceding an arrhythmic event (syncope, aborted cardiac arrest, or defibrillator discharge) and preceding a control occasion (the next-to-last birthday). On average the interview was conducted 17 months after the cardiac event and control occasion.
Results: During the 24-hour period preceding the cardiac event compared to the day before the control occasion, psychological stress was elevated, peak happiness was reduced, and peak exertion was not significantly different. Rated for the 6-month intervals preceding the event and control occasions, none of these three variables was significantly associated with events.
Conclusions: Happiness is associated with a reduction in the 24-hour risk of cardiac events in patients with LQTS, with stress having an opposite effect. To our knowledge, this is the first report indicating that positive emotion may have a protective effect on life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. This study lends further support to the role of emotions in influencing cardiac events in arrhythmia-prone patients.