Send to

Choose Destination
Psychother Psychosom. 2006;75(1):56-61.

Influence of anxiety on the course of heart disease after acute myocardial infarction - risk factor or protective function?

Author information

Section for Psychosomatic Medicine, Medical Clinic II, University of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.



There is a lack of clarity concerning the effect of anxiety on the course of cardiac events following myocardial infarction. Some studies have identified anxiety as a risk factor for further cardiac events. However, it is also considered to be a protective factor, as a higher level of anxiety may improve patient compliance and regular medical checkups.


A group of 76 patients with myocardial infarction underwent physical examination and had their anxiety levels assessed within the first week, and 31 months after myocardial infarction. Cardiac events were documented during the follow-up period. We investigated the predictive value for the occurrence of cardiac events of sociodemographic, psychological and physical parameters when evaluated within the first week after myocardial infarction. Compliancy and regularity of medical checkups were registered.


Cardiac events occurred in 24 patients during a mean follow-up period of 31 months. The group of anxious patients not only suffered more often from cardiac events, these events also occurred earlier than in nonanxious patients. Age, gender, partner status, level of anxiety and comorbid diabetes at the time of first assessment proved to be discriminatory variables between patients suffering further cardiac incidents and those free of further events. Anxious patients were more likely to continue smoking, whereas less anxious patients were more likely to give up smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Loading ...
Support Center