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J Behav Med. 2011 Feb;34(1):74-81. doi: 10.1007/s10865-010-9280-x. Epub 2010 Jul 17.

Mood and transient cardiac dysfunction in everyday life.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Emotion in daily life may be associated with transient myocardial ischemia, ventricular tachycardia and impaired autonomic function in cardiac patients, but the precise temporal sequence is unclear. Eighty-eight patients with suspected coronary artery disease underwent 24-h electrocardiographic monitoring, and affect was measured with the Day Reconstruction Method. Thirteen patients (15%) experienced one or more episodes of ST depression or ventricular tachycardia, nine of whom provided concurrent mood data. Mood and heart rate variability were analyzed for the 15 min before, during, and 15 min after each ST depression/ventricular tachycardia episode, and were compared with control periods not associated with cardiac dysfunction. Patients reported more negative mood in the 15 min preceding cardiac dysfunction compared with control periods (P = 0.02). Heart rate increased in the 5 min before cardiac dysfunction (P = 0.005), whereas low frequency heart rate variability was reduced at onset but not before cardiac dysfunction (P = 0.007). There were not changes in high frequency heart rate variability. This small study indicates that emotional state may contribute to vulnerability of cardiac dysfunction in everyday life.

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