Abstract 18032: Psychological Stressors and Atrial Fibrillation in Middle-Aged and Older Women
Background: Negative emotions have been linked to the development atrial fibrillation (AF), and positive affect may be protective. However, there are few large-scale studies about the association of psychological stressors that may provoke these emotions with the occurrence of AF.
Methods and Results: We examined the cross-sectional relationship between psychological stress and AF among 26,208 women participating in the Women’s Health Study cohort (mean age = 72.4 ± 6.0 years). Participants answered questions about perceived stress (e.g. upset by something unexpected, lack of control), work stress (e.g. excessive work, conflicting demands), work-family conflict (e.g. too stressed after work to participate in activities with family), financial stress (e.g. difficulty paying monthly bills), traumatic life events (e.g. death of a child), everyday discrimination (e.g. less respect, poor service), intimate partner stress (e.g. how judgmental is your spouse/partner) and neighborhood stress (e.g. neighborhood safety, trust). The prevalence of confirmed AF was 4.29% (N=1124) and risk factor profiles differed by AF status. Women with AF had significantly higher perceived, financial, traumatic life event and neighborhood stress scores compared to women without AF (Table 1, p-value <0.05). Only Perceived Stress [Odds Ratio (OR)=1.21, 95% Confidence Interval (CI)= 1.05-1.38] and Traumatic Life Events (OR=1.45, 95% CI= 1.27-1.65) were significantly associated with AF. Traumatic life events remained significantly associated with AF (OR=1.27, 95% CI= 1.11-1.46) after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, socioeconomic and psychological status.
Conclusion: These large-scale cross-sectional data indicate a potential relationship between traumatic life events and AF in middle aged and older women. As AF and psychological stress arguably share biological influences, prospective evaluation of stress relieving interventions may impact AF risk.
Author Disclosures: S.K. Westcott: None. F. Matsushita: None. C.M. Albert: None. N. Chatterjee: None. J. Wong: None. D. Williams: None. M. Vinayaga Moorthy: None. A.M. Zaslavsky: None. J. Buring: None. M.A. Albert: None.
- © 2016 by American Heart Association, Inc.