Patients who receive implantable cardiac defibrillators after a sudden myocardial infarction are more than twice as likely to die within five years if they experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, a study has shown.
The research conducted in Germany also showed that the severity of their disease did not affect their chances of survival.
Authors studied 211 patients who had received implantable cardiac defibrillators following a heart attack in 1998.
Participants were surveyed 27 months after implantation and 38 reported severe PTSD symptoms.
All patients were tracked using medical records, telephone interviews, reports from families and death certificates until March 2005.
After the five-year follow-up period, 45 patients (30.6%) died, including 32 of the 109 patients with low to moderate PTSD symptoms and 13 of the 38 patients with high levels of symptoms.
‘Experiencing PTSD symptoms conferred a 2.4-fold long-term age- and sex-adjusted mortality risk for patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators,’ authors wrote.
Archives of General Psychiatry (2008) 65: 1324-1330