Cardiovascular Disease-induced PTSD

Acute, sudden, and potentially life-threatening cardiovascular events can be terrifying experiences that, in turn, can trigger the development of PTSD. Although PTSD has traditionally been conceptualized as developing after an external traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, combat experience, or assault, there has been a growing appreciation that sudden and catastrophic medical events can serve as traumatic experiences that can lead to PTSD onset. Such PTSD symptoms are relatively common after cardiovascular events, with clinically significant symptoms ranging from 12% in patients after acute coronary syndrome to 25% in patients after stroke to 32% in patients after sudden cardiac arrest. Furthermore, these symptoms have important consequences for both emotional health and disease prognosis. Not only do we aim to identify early risk factors for developing PTSD after these kinds of cardiovascular events, but we also endeavor to understand how these PTSD symptoms may manifest and conribute to a worse course of disease for patients.