Vital exhaustion as risk indicator for myocardial infarction in women

J Psychosom Res. 1993 Dec;37(8):881-90. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(93)90177-h.


To test the hypothesis that 'vital exhaustion' (VE), a state characterized by unusual fatigue, increased irritability, and feelings of demoralization, precedes the onset of myocardial infarction (MI) in females, 79 females hospitalized with a first MI (mean age: 59.3; SD = 9.3) and 90 females hospitalized in the departments of general and orthopaedic surgery (mean age: 57.4; SD = 9.1), were compared on the retrospective form of the Maastricht Questionnaire (MQ). Defining 'exhaustion' as a score above the median of the MQ, 63% of the cases and 39% of the controls were exhausted before hospitalization (chi 2 = 10.02; p < 0.00). The relative risk associated with exhaustion, after controlling for age, smoking, coffee consumption, diabetes, hypertension, non-anginal pain, and menopausal status, was estimated as 2.75 (95% CI:I.28-5.81; p < 0.01), thus corroborating the hypothesis. Exploratory analyses of the origins of exhaustion in these females showed that of all biographical characteristics, holding a job and simultaneously taking care of the household was most strongly associated with elevated exhaustion scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / psychology
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Mood*
  • Life Style
  • Mental Fatigue / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Morale*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Role