Navigation Links
Death of Loved One May Trigger Elevated Heart Rate

SUNDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In the months following the death of a spouse or a child, the surviving spouse or parent may face a higher risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac death due to an increased heart rate, new research suggests.

The risk tends to dissipate within six months, the study authors said.

"While the focus at the time of bereavement is naturally directed toward the deceased person, the health and welfare of bereaved survivors should also be of concern to medical professionals, as well as family and friends," study lead author Thomas Buckley, acting director of postgraduate studies at the University of Sydney Nursing School in Sydney, Australia, said in an American Heart Association news release.

"Some bereaved," he added, "especially those already at increased cardiovascular risk, might benefit from medical review, and they should seek medical assistance for any possible cardiac symptoms."

Buckley and his colleagues are scheduled to present their observations Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in Chicago.

While prior research has indicated that heart health may be compromised among the bereaved, it has remained unclear what exactly drives this increased risk and why the risk diminishes over time. The new study suggests that there is a psychological dimension to the dynamic, one centered around a temporary increase in the incidence of stress and depression.

The study authors examined the issue by tracking 78 bereaved spouses and parents between the ages of 33 and 91 (55 women and 23 men) for six months, starting within the two-week period following the loss of their child or spouse.

Heart rates and rhythmic irregularities were tracked with 24-hour monitors, while fluctuations in the onset of depression and anxiety were documented. The findings were then compared with the medical conditions of a group of men and women who had not experienced the loss of a loved one.

Buckley and his associates found that, compared with the non-grieving group, bereaved patients experienced twice the number of rapid heartbeat episodes in the weeks immediately following their loss. Average heart rates were also relatively higher among bereaved patients during the same time frame.

By six months after the loss of a loved one, both conditions reverted back to normal among the bereaved, so they were either comparable or even less problematic compared with the non-grieving group, the investigators found.

Meanwhile, depression levels initially appeared to be more than four times higher among the bereaved. These rates started to decline after half a year, but they were still three times higher than levels found among the non-grieving participants.

"While our findings do not establish causality, they are consistent with evidence for psychosocial triggering of cardiovascular events," said Buckley. "They suggest the need for further investigation of the link between bereavement and cardiovascular risk, including the potential for preventive measures."

Experts note that research presented at meetings is not subjected to the same level of scrutiny as research published in leading journals.

More information

For more on coping with the loss of a loved one, visit the American Cancer Society.

-- Alan Mozes

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 14, 2010

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Premature Death Could Await Obese Kids
2. Most maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could be avoided
3. Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney Obtains Settlement in Wrongful Death Case
4. American Stroke Association Late-Breaking Science Report: Surgery, Stenting to Open Blocked Neck Arteries Similar in Safety, Efficacy, But Show Differences in Stroke, Heart Attack and Death Rates at Certain Ages
5. Hormone thought to slow aging associated with increased risk of cancer death
6. Some Parents Consider Hastening a Sick Childs Death
7. New tool to predict early death or hospital readmission
8. Death After Discharge Rates Higher in Elderly ICU Patients
9. High Hormone Level Linked to Cancer Death in Older Men
10. As Temperatures Rise, So Do Cocaine Deaths
11. PSA Test Reduces Prostate Cancer Deaths by 40%
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to ... came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all ... brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway ... call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting ... restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its ... Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding ... Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® & Innovative Solutions ... initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, and opened its first ... is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air and surface purification ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  MedSource announced today that it ... software solution of choice.  This latest decision demonstrates ... to their clients by offering a state-of-the-art electronic ... establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform of choice ... clients.  "nowEDC has long been a preferred EDC ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: