Anger report predicts coronary artery vasomotor response to mental stress in atherosclerotic segments

Am J Cardiol. 1993 Dec 15;72(18):1361-5. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(93)90180-k.


To determine the effects of anger on coronary artery vasoconstriction, 12 patients with symptomatic myocardial ischemia were studied during cardiac catheterization. During catheterization, the patients were asked to recall a recent event that had produced anger. One narrowed and 2 non-narrowed arterial segments were selected using predetermined criteria. Patients also completed various self-report measurements upon entering the catheterization laboratory before any procedures, after completion of the clinical angiogram and after the anger recall stressor. There was a significant increase in subject reports of anger (F[1,6] = 21.94, p < 0.01) and arousal (F [2,6] = 5.49, p < 0.05) during the anger stressor. There were no significant changes in heart rate, systolic or diastolic blood pressure, or heart rate x systolic blood pressure product during the anger stressor. A total of 27 arterial segments (9 narrowed and 18 non-narrowed) were selected and analyzed using quantitative angiographic techniques. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (baseline vs anger stressor) found no significant group differences with regard to changes in arterial diameter between conditions or among segments. Reported anger was significantly correlated with a decrease in both mean (r = -0.76, p < 0.05) and minimal (r = -0.82, p < 0.05) diameter changes in narrowed arteries. Vasoconstriction only occurred with high levels of anger. There were no significant correlations between anger report and diameter change in non-narrowed arteries. Thus, anger may produce coronary vasoconstriction in previously narrowed coronary arteries.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Aged
  • Anger / physiology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / psychology
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology*