Posttraumatic stress disorder and risk for coronary heart disease: A meta-analytic review

Edmondson, Donald E.; Kronish, Ian M.; Shaffer, Jonathan A.; Falzon, Louise; Burg, Matthew M.


The aim of this study was to estimate the association of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with risk for incident coronary heart disease (CHD).


A systematic review and meta-analysis were used as study designs.

Data Sources

Articles were identified by searching Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Scopus, Cochrane Library, PILOTS database, and PubMed Related Articles and through a manual search of reference lists (1948-present).

Study Selection

All studies that assessed PTSD in participants initially free of CHD and subsequently assessed CHD/cardiac-specific mortality were included.

Data Extraction

Two investigators independently extracted estimates of the association of PTSD with CHD, as well as study characteristics. Odds ratios were converted to hazard ratios (HRs), and a random-effects model was used to pool results. A secondary analysis including only studies that reported estimates adjusted for depression was conducted.


Six studies met our inclusion criteria (N = 402,274); 5 of these included depression as a covariate. The pooled HR for the magnitude of the relationship between PTSD and CHD was 1.55 (95% CI 1.34-1.79) before adjustment for depression. The pooled HR estimate for the 5 depression-adjusted estimates (N = 362,950) was 1.27 (95% CI 1.08-1.49).


Posttraumatic stress disorder is independently associated with increased risk for incident CHD, even after adjusting for depression and other covariates. It is common in both military veterans and civilian trauma survivors, and these results suggest that it may be a modifiable risk factor for CHD. Future research should identify the mechanisms of this association and determine whether PTSD treatment offsets CHD risk.


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Also Published In

American Heart Journal

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Published Here
March 9, 2016