Posttraumatic stress due to an acute coronary syndrome increases risk of 42-month major adverse cardiac events and all-cause mortality

Edmondson, Donald E.; Rieckmann, Nina; Shaffer, Jonathan A.; Schwartz, Joseph E.; Burg, Matthew M.; Davidson, Karina W.; Clemow, Lynn; Shimbo, Daichi; Kronish, Ian M.

Approximately 15% of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their ACS event. We assessed whether ACS-induced PTSD symptoms increase risk for major adverse cardiac events (MACE) and all-cause mortality (ACM) in an observational cohort study of 247 patients (aged 25–93 years; 45% women) hospitalized for an ACS at one of 3 academic medical centers in New York and Connecticut between November 2003 and June 2005. Within 1 week of admission, patient demographics, Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events risk score, Charlson comorbidity index, left ventricular ejection fraction, and depression status were obtained. At 1-month follow-up, ACS-induced PTSD symptoms were assessed with the Impact of Events Scale-Revised. The primary endpoint was combined MACE (hospitalization for myocardial infarction, unstable angina or urgent/emergency coronary revascularization procedures) and ACM, which were actively surveyed for 42 months after index event. Thirty-six (15%) patients had elevated intrusion symptoms, 32 (13%) elevated avoidance symptoms, and 21 (9%) elevated hyperarousal symptoms. Study physicians adjudicated 21 MACEs and 15 deaths during the follow-up period. In unadjusted Cox proportional hazards regression analyses, and analyses adjusted for sex, age, clinical characteristics and depression, high intrusion symptoms were associated with the primary endpoint (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.27–9.02; p = .015). Avoidance and hyperarousal symptoms were not associated with the primary endpoint. The presence of intrusion symptoms is a strong and independent predictor of elevated risk for MACE and ACM, and should be considered in the risk stratification of ACS patients.


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Also Published In

Journal of Psychiatric Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Published Here
April 6, 2016