Matthew M Burg PhD

Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)

Research Interests

role of emotion and stress on colonary heart disease; ischemia


Research Summary

Stress and Emotion in Coronary Heart Disease

Our interest in the role of stress and emotion in coronary disease has taken two approaches. We have been exploring mental stress provoked ischemia, documenting the phenomenon in naturalistic and laboratory settings. This work has allowed us to identify the anger and stress related behavioral and emotional characteristics of individuals at risk for this phenomenon, as well as the three fold greater risk of acute coronary events for people who experience this phenomenon. Additional work has served to distinguish this form of ischemia from exercise provoked ischemia, both with regard to hemodynamic characteristics and behavioral characteristics. Ongoing research is focused on the role of the central nervous system through the use of PET for the identification of brain centers uniquely activated during mental stress ischemia and the relationship of behavioral and psychological factors to such activation. In addition, the relative importance of vasculature function and processes by which vascular function is dynamically altered (e.g., inflammatory processes, autonomic modulation) are being explored. We have also been documenting the effects of acute stress and emotions such as anger on pro-arrhythmic processes in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD). Our findings demonstrate the profound effect that such stressors have on T-wave alternans, and the behavioral factors that contribute to risk for stress induced atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.

A second focus of our work has been on the conduct of behavioral randomized clinical trials to reduce risk in populations with extant CHD. These trials have as their focus such factors as depression in post-ACS populations and stress reduction in new recipients of implantable cardioverter defibrillators.imal circumstances for its use.


Selected Publications

  • Burg MM, LespĂ©rance F, Rieckmann N, Clemow L, Skotzko C, Davidson KW. Treating persistent depressive symptoms in post-ACS patients: The Project COPES phase-I randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials 2007 (in press).
  • Burg MM, Soufer R. Mental stress-induced myocardial ischemia: moving forward. J Nucl Cardiol 200714:308-13.
  • Lett HS, Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Catellier DJ, Carney RM, Berkman LF, Burg MM, Mitchell P, Jaffe AS, Schneiderman N. Social support and prognosis in patients at increased psychosocial risk recovering from myocardial infarction. Health Psychol 200726:418-27.
  • Dornelas EA, Burg MM. Treatment of depression in patients with coronary artery disease. JAMA 2007297:1879-80.
  • Stopper M, Joska T, Burg MM, Batsford WP, McPherson CA, Jain D, Lampert R: Electrophysiologic characteristics of anger-triggered arrhythmias. Heart Rhythm 20074:268-73.

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