A former faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, Sanjiv M. Narayan, MD, PhD, is a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University and co-founder of the school’s Arrhythmia Center, a facility dedicated to researching causes of and treatments for cardiac arrhythmia. In his work, research cardiologist Sanjiv Narayan stays abreast of new insights into atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat.
Extreme moments of anger can trigger the body’s “fight-or-flight” mechanism, which releases epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the bloodstream. For individuals who have a history of atrial fibrillation, however, these angry moments can potentially trigger a heart arrhythmia event. According to recent research, however, patients who take beta blockers are at a significantly reduced risk of experiencing this issue.
For one year, Yale University researchers followed patients with a history of atrial fibrillation. They found some instances of atrial fibrillation among the group of participants who were prescribed beta blockers, but much fewer than those who weren’t. This the second study in this area, with the first successfully attributing atrial fibrillation occurrence to extreme episodes of stress/anger. Beta blockers, which lessen adrenaline levels, also have a secondary benefit, as they can reduce the rate of heart attack.