Abstract 17769: Increased Blood Pressure Variability During Early Bereavement
Background: Bereavement is a unique stress with heightened cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk for the surviving spouse; the physiological changes underlying this increased risk have not been well defined.
Aims: Since increased blood pressure variability (BPV) has been associated with higher CVD mortality, we tested the hypothesis that there is greater BPV during bereavement.
Methods: Sixty-three bereaved (B) spouses and parents (41F/22M; aged 65 ± 2 yrs) were studied within 2 weeks of bereavement (acute) and at 6 months (6m), and compared to a non-bereaved (NB) reference group of 78 spouses of discharged patients (52F/26M; age 64 ± 1 yrs) underwent 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) assessment using the validated TM-2430 device. Systolic BPV for the awake period (0800 - 2000 hours) was calculated as standard deviation (SD), coefficient of variability (CoV) and average real variability (ARV). SD identifies the spread of BP measurements around a single value (the mean) not accounting for order of measurement, whereas ARV averages absolute differences of consecutive measurements.
Results: Acutely bereaved have significantly higher awake systolic blood pressure (SBP, 136 ± 2 vs 131 ± 1 mmHg, p<0.05) and systolic BPV measures (SD and ARV) compared with non-bereaved (see Table 1). By 6 months, there were no longer significant differences between B and NB in ARV or SBP. However, BPV measured by SD remained higher in bereaved at 6 months.
Conclusion: This study, the first to focus on CVD risk in early bereavement, demonstrates increased blood pressure variability that may contribute to the increased CVD events. Table 1
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.