Coexisting Medical Conditions, Smoking Explain PTSD-CVD Link

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13, 2019 — The correlation between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not independent and is explained by physical and psychiatric conditions and smoking, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Jeffrey F. Scherrer, Ph.D., from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined whether one or a combination of comorbid conditions explained the correlation between PTSD and incident CVD using data from patients who used one of five Veterans Health Affairs (VA) medical centers. Data were included for 2,519 VA patients aged 30 to 70 years with a PTSD diagnosis and 1,659 without PTSD.

The researchers observed a significant age-adjusted correlation between PTSD and incident CVD (hazard ratio, 1.41; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.21 to 1.63). The correlation between PTSD and incident CVD was attenuated but remained significant after adjustment for metabolic conditions (hazard ratio, 1.23; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.06 to 1.44). PTSD was not associated with incident CVD after further adjustment for smoking, sleep disorder, substance use disorder, anxiety disorders, and depression (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.15).

“A combination of physical disorders, psychiatric disorders, and smoking — that are more common in patients with PTSD versus without PTSD — appear to explain the association between PTSD and developing cardiovascular disease,” Scherrer said in a statement. “Recognizing that PTSD does not preordain CVD may empower patients to seek care to prevent and/or manage CVD risk factors.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Nobilis Therapeutics.

Abstract/Full Text

Posted: February 2019

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