Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PTSD Symptoms Associated With Increased Risk Of Death After Heart Events

Date:
November 8, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Individuals who receive implantable cardiac defibrillators after a sudden heart event appear more likely to die within five years if they experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of the severity of their disease, according to a new report.

Individuals who receive implantable cardiac defibrillators after a sudden heart event appear more likely to die within five years if they experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of the severity of their disease, according to a new report.

Related Articles


Surviving a life-threatening heart condition, such as heart attack or cardiac arrest, causes significant distress, according to background information in the article. Resulting symptoms—including intense fear, painful intrusive memories and hyperarousal (a state of physical and psychological tension resulting from the flight-or-fight response)—may qualify an individual for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Between 8 percent and 20 percent of patients with acute coronary syndromes and 27 percent to 38 percent of those who survive a cardiac arrest develop PTSD.

Karl-Heinz Ladwig, Ph.D., M.D., of Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Munich, and Helmholtz Zentrum National Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany, and colleagues studied 211 patients who had received implantable cardiac defibrillators (devices that administer shocks to help restore normal heartbeat) following a heart event in 1998. Participants were surveyed an average of 27 months after implantation and 38 reported severe PTSD symptoms. All patients were then tracked through medical records, telephone interviews, reports from family members and death certificates through March 2005.

During the average follow-up period of five years, 45 of the patients (30.6 percent) died. This included 32 of the 109 patients with low or moderate PTSD symptoms and 13 of 38 patients with high levels of such symptoms. "Our findings provide direct evidence for an independent influence of PTSD symptoms on fatal outcome in these patients," the authors write. "Experiencing PTSD symptoms conferred a 2.4-fold long-term age- and sex-adjusted mortality [death] risk for patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators."

Patients with PTSD in the study reported more cardiac symptoms, such as chest pain, than those without PTSD. However, clinical characteristics that typically account for survival differences in such patients—for example, the frequency at which their defibrillator administers shocks—did not differ between the two groups. "Therefore, the perceived severity rather than the objective severity of a cardiac condition as determined by cardiac criteria may be associated with PTSD," the authors write.

"Further investigations are required to assess the behavioral and biologic pathways by which posttraumatic maladaptation contributes to the excess mortality risk in patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators," they continue. One possible explanation is that medical recommendations for cardiac care—including drug prescriptions—may act as "traumatic reminders" for patients with PTSD and may therefore be ignored or avoided.

"The findings underline the urgent need for routinely applied comprehensive and interdisciplinary psychosocial aftercare for patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators," the authors conclude. "Although the serious mortality risk of PTSD in patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators needs to be further investigated before firm recommendations can be made, screening for PTSD symptoms in patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators is likely to be clinically beneficial, and treatment in selected patients should be attempted."

This study was funded by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The psychosomatic ICD research unit was initially supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Boston Scientific Guidant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karl-Heinz Ladwig; Jens Baumert; Birgitt Marten-Mittag; Christof Kolb; Bernhard Zrenner; Claus Schmitt. Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Predicted Mortality in Patients With Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators: Results From the Prospective Living With an Implanted Cardioverter-Defibrillator Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2008;65(11):1324-1330 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "PTSD Symptoms Associated With Increased Risk Of Death After Heart Events." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103170614.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, November 8). PTSD Symptoms Associated With Increased Risk Of Death After Heart Events. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103170614.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "PTSD Symptoms Associated With Increased Risk Of Death After Heart Events." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103170614.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins