Psychological factors and risk of atrial fibrillation: A meta-analysis and systematic review

Int J Cardiol. 2022 Sep 1:362:85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2022.05.048. Epub 2022 May 23.

Abstract

Background: Multiple studies have shown that mental disorders are common risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). However, the relationship between psychological factors and atrial fibrillation (AF) incidence remains unclear. Therefore, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the risk of AF due to psychological factors.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched from inception to January 2022. Relevant and eligible cohort studies were included. Random or fixed effect model was used to estimate the pooled hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). For non-randomized studies, the risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS).

Results: Thirteen publications, including 5,329,908 participants, met our inclusion criteria. The incidence of AF was increased by 10% (HR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.19, I2 = 33.6%, P = 0.013, n = 235,599 in 6 studies) for patients with anxiety, by 15% (HR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.26, I2 = 40.2%, P = 0.04, n = 21,791 in 3 studies) for patients with anger, by 25% (HR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.39, I2 = 57.4%, P < 0.001, n = 5,160,247 in 6 studies) for patients with depression, and by 18% (HR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.32, I2 = 19.2%, P = 0.004, n = 51,664 in 4 studies) for people under work stress.

Conclusions: Adverse psychological factors such as anxiety, anger, depression, and work stress may increase the risk of AF. Interventions to prevent mental disorders may reduce the growing global burden of AF and its associated healthcare costs. Given the current study's limitations, our findings need to be further confirmed by a larger prospective study.

Keywords: Anger; Anxiety; Atrial fibrillation; Depression; Psychological factors; Work stress.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors