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Am J Cardiol. 1990 Jul 1;66(1):59-62.

Biobehavioral variables and mortality or cardiac arrest in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Pilot Study (CAPS).

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Institute for Behavioral Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island 02906.


The frequency of ventricular premature complexes and the degree of impairment of left ventricular ejection fraction are major predictors of cardiac mortality and sudden death in the year after acute myocardial infarction. Recent studies have implicated psychosocial factors, including depression, the interaction of social isolation and life stress, and type A-B behavior pattern, as predictors of cardiac events, controlling for known parameters of disease severity. However, results tend not to be consistent and are sometimes contradictory. The present investigation was designed to test the predictive association between biobehavioral factors and clinical cardiac events. This evaluation occurred in the context of a prospective clinical trial, the Cardiac Arrhythmia Pilot Study (CAPS). Five-hundred two patients were recruited with greater than or equal to 10 ventricular premature complexes/hour or greater than or equal to 5 episodes of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, recorded 6 to 60 days after a myocardial infarction. Baseline behavioral studies, conducted in approximately 66% of patients, included psychosocial questionnaires of anxiety, depression, social desirability and support, and type A-B behavior pattern. In addition, blood pressure and pulse rate reactivity to a portable videogame was assessed. The primary outcome was scored on the basis of mortality or cardiac arrest. Results indicated that the type B behavior pattern, higher levels of depression and lower pulse rate reactivity to challenge were significant risk factors for death or cardiac arrest, after adjusting statistically for a set of known clinical predictors of disease severity. The implication of these results for future research relating behavioral factors to cardiac endpoints is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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