HealthDay News — Anxiety disorders are associated with a range of cardiovascular events, according to a meta-analysis published in the Aug. 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Connor A. Emdin, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to examine the correlation between anxiety and cardiovascular diseases. A total of 46 cohort studies involving participants with and without anxiety, including individuals with anxiety, worry, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobic anxiety, and panic disorder, were reviewed.

The researchers found that anxiety correlated with a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure (relative risks, 1.41, 1.41, 1.71, and 1.35, respectively). There was no significant correlation for anxiety with major cardiovascular events or atrial fibrillation, although the confidence intervals were wide. Compared with other anxiety disorders, phobic anxiety correlated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease; PTSD was associated with an elevated risk of stroke. In sensitivity analyses the results were broadly consistent.

“Anxiety disorders are associated with an elevated risk of a range of different cardiovascular events, including stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and cardiovascular death,” the authors write. “Whether these associations are causal is unclear.”

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Emdin CA, Odutayo A, Wong CX, et al. Meta-analysis of anxiety as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Am J Cardiol. 2016; 118:511-519.