Heart rhythm could be affected by stressful film clips, says research

15 May 2014        

Doctor using a stethoscope

Watching movies containing stressful scenes could affect your heart rhythm, according to researchers.

The study looked at the effect of watching films with emotionally-charged scenes on 19 people by measuring the electrical activity in their heart, respiratory rates and blood pressure.

Researchers found the clips affected people's breathing rate, how fast their hearts beat and caused an increase in blood pressure.

These changes varied from person to person but were not thought likely to cause problems in those studied.

It’s important to remember any changes noticed were minimal and unlikely to have any significant impact.


Doireann Maddock, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “This small study showed that strongly stressful situations cause multiple changes in the body, including an effect on breathing rate and how fast the heart beats.

“Although these findings are interesting, it’s important to remember any changes noticed were minimal and unlikely to have any significant impact.

“More research is needed to determine if there is any basis to the study’s speculation that more extreme stress and/or the presence of a problem with the pumping function of the heart could lead to a problematic disturbance in heart rhythm.”