PTSD Linked to Increased Myocardial Ischemia

by U.S. Medicine

January 7, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — A new study adds to the growing evidence that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have increased risks for developing myocardial ischemia.

The study, published recently in Biological Psychiatry, was conducted by University of California, San Francisco researchers at two VAMCs. 1

For the research, 663 VA outpatients underwent a series of assessments, including questionnaires and a blood test to determine their risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Each veteran also participated in a structured interview with a clinician, resulting in a diagnosis of PTSD for 230 of the subjects. Participants also underwent standardized exercise treadmill tests to detect ischemia.

Myocardial ischemia was identified in 17% of the participants with PTSD but only 10% of participants without PTSD. Researchers emphasized that the increase was not explained by differences in traditional cardiac risk factors, health behaviors like alcohol use and sleep quality or depression.

“This study adds to a growing literature demonstrating the objective effects of PTSD on the heart,” said co-author Beth Cohen, MD. “An important next step for this area of research will be to identify the mechanisms through which PTSD may damage the cardiovascular system. Though we controlled for several potential mechanisms, such as traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, these did not explain the association of PTSD and ischemia. Determining precisely how PTSD can affect the heart will allow us to develop new, tailored treatments to improve the health of veterans and others who experience PTSD.”

John Krystal, MD, editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented that “increased risk for cardiac ischemia may turn out to be an important new concern for individuals suffering from long-standing untreated PTSD.”

  1. Turner, JH, Neylan TC, Schiller NB, Li Y, Cohen BE. Objective Evidence of Myocardial Ischemia in Patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 2013; 74 (11): 861 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.07.012

Related Articles

VA Mental Health Experts Urge Intensive Pre-Enlistment Schizophrenia Screening

The most common age for diagnosis of schizophrenia is late teens to early 30s.

Report: More Than 80% of VAMCs Provide High-Quality Mental Healthcare

A new report gave the VA high marks for the quality of mental health care provided to veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From ptsd

PTSD

Advocacy Group Partners with VA to Improve Research on Female Concussions

WASHINGTON — The process for tracking the DoD’s most serious adverse medical events is “fragmented, impeding the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) ability to ensure that it has received complete information,” according to a new review.... View Article

PTSD

DoD, VA Still Struggle with Diagnosing, Treating Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

Diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury continues to pose challenges for clinicians, TBI experts told lawmakers.

PTSD

Navy Doctor Promotes the Healing Power of Artistic Expression

Patients who are struggling with TBI and PTSD often find themselves frustrated in a traditional model of care that involves sitting in a room and talking about what they’re experiencing.

PTSD

VA Dogged By Revived Bills Seeking Service Animals for PTSD Patients

WASHINGTON — The process for tracking the DoD’s most serious adverse medical events is “fragmented, impeding the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) ability to ensure that it has received complete information,” according to a new review.... View Article

PTSD

MHS Providers Lack Time,Travel Funding for PTSD, MDD Training

Limitations on travel and the lack of protected time might prevent MHS healthcare providers from receiving additional training in evidence-based therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), a recent study suggested.

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up