Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease

Edmondson, Donald E.; Cohen, Beth E.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder initiated by exposure to a traumatic event and characterized by intrusive thoughts about the event, attempts to avoid reminders of the event, and physiological hyperarousal. In a number of large prospective observational studies, PTSD has been associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. Also, in recent years, a number of studies have shown that cardiovascular events can themselves cause PTSD in more than 1 in 8 patients with acute coronary syndrome. Further, a few small studies suggest that PTSD secondary to an acute CVD event then places patients at increased risk for subsequent CVD events and mortality. In this article, we review the evidence for a link between PTSD and CVD, and discuss potential mechanisms for that association as well as future directions for research.


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Also Published In

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Published Here
April 4, 2016