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PTSD linked to increased complications and death a year after cardiac arrest

November 05, 2018

DALLAS, Nov. 5, 2018 -- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms may significantly increase cardiac arrest survivors' risk of major cardiovascular events and death up to a year after the initial medical crisis, according to preliminary research to be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association's Resuscitation Science Symposium 2018 - an international conference highlighting the best in cardiovascular resuscitation research.

PTSD, which is common following cardiac arrest, was associated with a three-fold increased risk of death from any cause or a major heart event in a review of 114 patients who had been resuscitated after in-hospital or out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between 2015 and 2017.

Of 114 consecutive patients who survived with mild to moderate brain injury, 36 (31.6 percent) were diagnosed with cardiac-arrest-induced PTSD at discharge, which was an average of 21 days after the cardiac arrest. During the follow up of more than a year, 10 patients (8.8 percent) died and 29 (25.4 percent) experienced a recurrent major adverse cardiovascular event, such as rehospitalization due to heart attack, severe chest pain, heart failure or an emergency procedure to open clogged arteries or to implant a defibrillator/pacemaker.

Researchers recommend further study to understand the underlying mechanisms.
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Note: Scientific presentation is 9 a.m. CT, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Sachin Agarwal, M.D., MPH, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY

Additional Resources: Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

American Heart Association

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