Anxiety and Cardiovascular Autonomic Control
To evaluate the hypothesis that chronic anxiety and/or anxiety disorders resulted in hyperkinetic cardiovascular autonomic regulation, often associated with increased coronary risk.
|Study Design:||Observational Model: Natural History|
|Study Start Date:||September 1996|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||January 2001|
Prospective epidemiologic data indicate a strong relationship of chronic anxiety and/or anxiety disorders to risk of sudden cardiac death. Other studies have shown that cardiac autonomic mechanisms are altered among stably anxious individuals in the direction of reduced parasympathetic and elevated sympathetic control. The latter investigations, however, have been based on very small clinic samples and have been incomplete in their assessment of cardiovascular regulation in anxiety.
This investigation was the first large-scale population-based research examining the cardiovascular physiology of anxiety, and helped to increase understanding of the reported association between anxiety and sudden cardiac death. This study also helped to identify groups in the general population at increased risk of sudden death.
The study used an ongoing well-characterized cohort, the VA Normative Aging Study (NAS), to recruit middle-aged and older community-dwelling men and women into the study. Using a variety of validated psychological and psychiatric screening instruments--including the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Crown-Crisp Index--the study population was characterized in terms of symptoms of anxiety and diagnosis of anxiety disorders. Cardiovascular autonomic control was then assessed among anxious and non-anxious individuals using non-invasive time-domain and power-spectral measures of heart rate and blood pressure variability. Cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, and end-tidal pCO2 were simultaneously assessed.
|Investigator:||David Sparrow||Brigham and Women's Hospital|