There is an increasing scientific evidence that physical and mental stress can adversely affect the natural history of ischemic heart disease. The first observations date back to the early 1900s when Russian scientists Obraztsov and Strazhesko (1910) in a medical congress talked of emotional triggers in the pathogenesis of acute myocardial infarction. Acute stressful events such as financial crackdowns, terrorist attacks, and wars are known as triggers of acute heart events, as well as sporting events, celebration festivities, and so on. In this article, we analyze the physiopathological bases of these phenomena by also reviewing the evidence of the effectiveness of stress management and meditative techniques in prevention and care.
Keywords: Stress, ischemic heart disease, brain-heart axis, meditation, heart as endocrine gland, cardiac immune system.