Under controlled conditions, mental stress can provoke decrements in ventricular function, yet little is known about the effect of mental stress on diastolic function in patients with heart failure (HF).
Twenty-four HF patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF; n=23 men; mean LVEF=27±9%; n=13 with baseline elevated E/e’) completed daily assessment of perceived stress, anger, and negative emotion for 7 days, followed by a laboratory mental stress protocol. 2D Doppler echocardiography was performed at rest and during sequential anger recall and mental arithmetic tasks to assess indices of diastolic function (E, e’, and E/e’). Fourteen patients (63.6%) experienced stress-induced increases in E/e’, with an average baseline to stress change of 6.5±9.3, driven primarily by decreases in early LV relaxation (e’). Age-adjusted linear regression revealed an association between 7-day anger and baseline E/e’; patients reporting greater anger in the week prior to mental stress exhibited higher resting LV diastolic pressure.
In patients with HFrEF, mental stress can provoke acute worsening of LV diastolic pressure, and recent anger is associated with worse resting LV diastolic pressure. In patients vulnerable to these effects, repeated stress exposures or experiences of anger may have implications for long-term outcomes.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.