Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Heart Failure Patients: A Test of the Cardiac Disease-induced PTSD Hypothesis

Author(s): Phillip J. Tully*, Suzanne M. Cosh

Journal Name: Current Psychiatry Research and Reviews
Formerly Current Psychiatry Reviews

Volume 15 , Issue 4 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in approximately 12% of patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and such patients are at risk of further CVD morbidity and mortality. It is unknown whether CVD patients with cardiac and non-cardiac traumatic events leading to PTSD differ in medical comorbidities and psychiatric vulnerabilities. Our objective was to compare heart failure (HF) patients with cardiac and non-cardiac PTSD.

Methods: A population of HF patients from 3 hospitals underwent a two-step depression and anxiety screening process to identify potential mental health treatment needs. The post-traumatic stress disorder module of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis-I disorders was used to classify trauma(s) exposure, and other disorders. The patients with PTSD were sub-divided by cardiac related traumas (e.g. myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac arrest) and non-cardiac related traumas (e.g. sexual abuse, interpersonal violence).

Results: 10 patients met criteria for non-cardiac trauma and 18 patients met criteria for cardiacinduced trauma. There were no significant differences in HF aetiology or severity nor cardiac comorbidities. Time since PTSD, onset was significantly longer for those with non-cardiac PTSD. Among psychiatric comorbidities, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, as well as depression were more prevalent in patients with non-cardiac PTSD.

Conclusion: Cardiac related PTSD was associated with less alcohol and substance abuse disorders, and depression by comparison to their non-cardiac induced PTSD counterparts. Ongoing research is required to establish if cardiac-induced PTSD truly reflects a unique subtype of PTSD, and whether there are different treatment needs and therapeutic approaches for this subtype.

Keywords: Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, trauma.

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Article Details

Year: 2019
Published on: 15 January, 2020
Page: [290 - 296]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/2666082215666191113121558

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