Circadian variation and triggers of onset of acute cardiovascular disease.

J E MullerP H Stone


Information obtained during the past decade suggests the need to reexamine the possibility that the onset of myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death is frequently triggered by daily activities. The importance of physical or mental stress in triggering onset of coronary thrombosis is supported by the findings that 1) the frequencies of onset of myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, and stroke show marked circadian variations with parallel increases in the period from 6:00 AM to noon, 2) transient myocardial ischemia shows a similar morning increase, and episodes are often preceded by mental or physical triggers, 3) a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque, often nonobstructive by itself, lies at the base of most coronary thrombi, 4) a number of physiologic processes that could lead to plaque rupture, a hypercoagulable state or coronary vasoconstriction, are accentuated in the morning, and 5) aspirin and beta-adrenergic blocking agents, which block certain of these processes, have been shown to prevent disease onset. The hypothesis is presented that occlusive coronary thrombosis occurs when 1) an atherosclerotic plaque becomes vulnerable to rupture, 2) mental or physical stress causes the plaque to rupture, and 3) increase...Continue Reading


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