BACKGROUND: Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorders and are an emerging risk factor for coronary artery disease and its complications. We determine the relationship between having a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder and coronary endothelial dysfunction (CED) using invasive coronary reactivity testing across both sexes. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients presenting with chest pain and nonobstructive coronary artery disease (stenosis <40%) at coronary angiography underwent an invasive assessment of CED. Patients were categorized as having a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder at the time of coronary angiography by chart review. The frequency of CED was compared between patients with versus without an anxiety disorder and after stratifying patients by sex. Between 1992 and 2020, 1974 patients (mean age, 51.3 years; 66.2% women) underwent invasive coronary reactivity testing, of which 550 (27.9%) had a documented anxiety disorder at the time of angiography. There was a significantly higher proportion of patients with any type of CED in those with an anxiety disorder in all patients (343 [62.7%] versus 790 [56.4%]; P=0.011) that persisted in women but not in men. After adjusting for covariables, anxiety was significantly associated with any CED among all patients (odds ratio [95% CI], 1.36 [1.10–1.68]; P=0.004), and after stratifying by sex in women but not in men. CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety disorders are significantly associated with CED in women presenting with chest pain and nonobstruc-tive coronary artery disease. Thus, CED may represent a mechanism underpinning the association between anxiety disorders and coronary artery disease and its complications, highlighting the role of anxiety as a potential therapeutic target to prevent cardiovascular events.
- Chest pain
- Coronary endothelial dysfunction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine