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BREAKING NEWS
Source: Thailand Medical News  Jan 14, 2020
Burnout Syndrome Associated With Atrial Fibrillation (Irregular Heartbeat)
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Burnout Syndrome Associated With Atrial Fibrillation (Irregular Heartbeat)
Source: Thailand Medical News  Jan 14, 2020
Experiences of being fatigue, feeling excessively tired, devoid of energy, demoralised, and irritable? You may have burnout, a syndrome associated with a potentially deadly heart rhythm disturbance. That's the conclusion of a large study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).



Study author Dr. Parveen K. Garg of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles told Thailand Medical News, "Vital exhaustion, commonly referred to as burnout syndrome, is typically caused by prolonged and profound stress at work or home. It differs from depression, which is characterised by low mood, guilt, and poor self-esteem. The results of our study further establish the harm that can be caused in people who suffer from exhaustion that goes unchecked."

Currently, atrial fibrillation is the most common form of heart arrhythmia. It is estimated that 17 million people in Europe and 10 million people in the US will have this condition by next year, increasing their risk for heart attack, stroke, and death. Yet, what causes atrial fibrillation is not fully understood.

It has been suggested that psychological distress is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, but previous studies showed mixed results. In addition, until now, the specific association between vital exhaustion and atrial fibrillation had not been evaluated.

The medical researchers in this study surveyed more than 11,000 individuals for the presence of vital exhaustion, anger, antidepressant use, and poor social support. They then followed them over a period of nearly 25 years for the development of atrial fibrillation.

Research participants with the highest levels of vital exhaustion or having burnout symptoms were at a 20% higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation over the course of follow-up compared to those with little to no evidence of vital exhaustion.

Although further study is needed to better understand the observed relationship, Dr. Garg noted that two mechanisms are likely at play. "Vital exhaustion is associated with increased inflammation and heightened activation of the body's physiologic stress response," he said. "When these two things are chronically triggered that can have serious and damaging effects on the heart tissue, which could then eventually lead to the development of this arrhythmia."

There was no connections found between anger, antidepressant use, or poor social support and development of atrial fibrillation. "The findings for anger and social support are consistent with prior research but two previous studies did find a significant association between antidepressant use and an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Clearly, more work still needs to be done," said Dr. Garg.

Additional  research is also needed to identify concrete actions for doctors to help patients with exhaustion, said Dr. Garg.
Dr Gard concluded, "It is already known that exhaustion increases one's risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. We now report that it may also increase one's risk for developing atrial fibrillation, a potentially serious cardiac arrhythmia. The importance of avoiding exhaustion through careful attention to and management of personal stress levels as a way to help preserve overall cardiovascular health cannot be overstated."
 
Reference : Parveen K Garg et al, Associations of anger, vital exhaustion, anti-depressant use, and poor social ties with incident atrial fibrillation: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (2020). DOI: 10.1177/2047487319897163