Relation of Outbursts of Anger and Risk of Heart Attack | Heart and Vascular Health |

Outbursts of anger are associated with an abrupt increase in cardiovascular events; however, it remains unknown whether greater levels of anger intensity are associated with greater levels of heart attack or muocarcdial infaction (MI) risk or whether potentially modifiable factors can mitigate the short-term risk of AMI.

Analysis of 3,886 participants from the multicenter Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study, who were interviewed during the index hospitalization for AMI from 1989 to 1996 and compared the observed number and intensity of anger outbursts in the 2 hours preceding MI symptom onset with its expected frequency according to each patient's control information, defined as the number of anger outbursts in the previous year.

Of the 3,886 participants 38% reported outbursts of anger in the previous year. The incidence rate of AMI onset was elevated 2.43-fold within 2 hours of an outburst of anger. The association was consistently stronger with increasing anger intensities (p trend <0.001).

In conclusion, the risk of experiencing MI was more than twofold greater after outbursts of anger compared with at other times, and greater intensities of anger were associated with greater relative risks. Compared with nonusers, regular β-blocker users had a lower susceptibility to heart attacks triggered by anger, suggesting that some drugs might lower the risk from each anger episode.

American Journal of Cardiology, Volume 112, Issue 3, Pages 343-348, 1 August 2013, Authors:Elizabeth Mostofsky, MPH, ScD; Malcolm Maclure, ScD; Geoffrey H. Tofler, MD; James E. Muller, MD; Murray A.