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Emotional Upset and Cardiac Arrhythmia

CITATION: Carels, R. A., Gacciapaglia, H., et al. (June 2003).  The Association Between Emotional Upset and Cardiac Arrhythmia During Daily Life.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology June 2003, Vol. 71, No. 3, p 613-618.

Ventricular arrhythmia exhibits considerable within-subject variability that cannot be attributed to clinical status alone. This investigation examined the extent to which cardiac arrhythmia was associated with psychological and physical factors assessed during the hour preceding arrhythmic or nonarrhythmic activity. Approximately twice hourly, 46 patients randomly completed a diary assessing mood and physical symptoms during 24-hr electrocardiographic monitoring. Greater negative emotion was associated with increased arrhythmia. Additionally, greater negative emotion was significantly associated with increased arrhythmia among participants in a low left ventricular ejection fraction group (LVEF). However, this relationship between negative emotion and arrhythmia was not observed among higher LVEF participants. These findings contribute to a larger body of evidence suggesting that negative moods may exacerbate cardiac conditions.


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