Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Phobic Anxiety Found to Promote Coronary Artery Disease Mortality

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Phobic Anxiety Found to Promote Coronary Artery Disease Mortality

Article excerpt

DENVER -- Phobic anxiety was significantly associated with both ventricular arrhythmia and mortality in coronary artery disease patients during a median 3-year follow-up, said Lana Watkins, Ph.D., at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.

The relationship between sudden cardiac death and phobic anxiety in particular has not been well studied, Dr. Watkins noted. She and her colleagues at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., evaluated 941 adult patients who were being treated for coronary artery disease. A majority of these patients were white males. About a third of the patients did not have high school diplomas, and smoking and obesity were common among patients in the study.

The highest number of arrhythmias occurred among those patients with the highest levels of phobic anxiety based on the Crown-Crisp index, which rates eight types of phobias, including fear of heights, crowds, and closed spaces.

Overall, the highest tertile of phobic anxiety scores had twice as many females as males, and a higher level of phobic anxiety was significantly associated with female sex, minority status, increased body mass index, and younger age. …

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