OBJECTIVE: Anxiety and depression are risk factors for obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), but their effects on coronary artery spasm (CAS) remain unestablished.

METHODS: Patient records in this population-based study were retrospectively collected from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Using propensity score matching, we used 1:1:1 ratio stratification into a control group of 10,325 individuals without CAS or CAD, a CAS group comprising 10,473 patients, and a CAD group comprising 10,473 patients during 2000-2012.

RESULTS: The prevalence of CAS and CAD was 0.067% and 8.7%, respectively, in the general population. The prevalence of anxiety and depression diagnoses was significantly higher in patients with new-onset CAS than in those with new-onset CAD and controls without CAS/CAD, even after propensity score matching. Compared with CAD, anxiety and depression diagnoses conferred a higher risk of developing CAS (odds ratio [OR] = 2.29, 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.14-2.45, p < .001, and OR = 1.34, 95% CI, 1.08-1.66, p = .007, respectively). The association was even stronger when comparing CAS with the control group without CAD or CAS (OR = 5.20, 95% CI, 4.72-5.74, p < .001, and OR = 1.98, 95% CI, 1.50-2.62, p < .001, respectively). The increased risk of new-onset CAS as related to previous anxiety and depression diagnoses was comparable between males and females.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with CAD or the general population, anxiety and depression diagnoses confer a higher risk of developing CAS. No sex differences are found for the association of anxiety and depression with CAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


  • anxiety
  • coronary artery spasm
  • depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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