Positive outlook linked to better outcomes after angina

Research we're watching

People with chest pain caused by narrowed heart arteries (angina) who report feeling hopeful about their condition seem to fare better than those who are less optimistic, new research finds.

The study, published May 1 in the American Journal of Cardiology, included nearly 2,400 people with chronic angina who had undergone a procedure to open at least one narrowed heart artery (known as revascularization). More than half rated themselves as optimistic or very optimistic, and most stayed positive over the following 12 months. During that time, they were about 40% less likely to be hospitalized or to need another revascularization compared with people who were less optimistic, even after researchers accounted for other illnesses and angina frequency.

The findings don't prove that optimism itself leads to better heart health, but they echo similar observations among heart attack survivors and others with heart disease. The results warrant future research on interventions to improve optimism, say the authors. For example, doctors could remind people with angina that their odds of returning to normal are quite good (and mention the encouraging statistics described above).

Image: © AlexRaths/Getty Images

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.