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Additional cardiac testing vital for patients with anxiety and depression
Date:11/11/2010

may be under diagnosing people at risk," adds Professor Lavoie.

Some 2,271 people took part in the study and about half of participants had previously suffered from major heart attacks, bypass surgery or angioplasty. The other half were people exposed to heart disease because of high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure or other risk factors.

The study found that patients with anxiety disorders were younger and more likely to be smokers than patients without anxiety disorders. Participants with anxiety disorders were also less likely to be taking Aspirin or lipid-lowering medication, which can protect against some cardiac events. What's more, 44 percent of participants with anxiety disorders were found to also suffer from major depressive disorders.

"Patients with higher depression scores reported higher fatigue and exertion levels effects that may be attributed to depression," says Professor Lavoie.

To ensure heart disease doesn't go undetected, physicians should consider administering a brief questionnaire before conducting ECGs to determine whether patients are highly anxious or depressed. If so, their exercise performance should be carefully monitored. In the event of a negative (i.e., normal) ECG result, doctors may want to refer patients for nuclear testing.

"Our study indicates that detection of heart irregularities during ECGs may be influenced by the presence of mood or anxiety disorders," concludes lead investigator Roxanne Pelletier of the Universit du Qubec Montral and Montreal Heart Institute. "Greater efforts should be made to include routine mood or anxiety disorder screening as part of exercise stress-testing protocols."


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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
s-j.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

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