NEW YORK – Clinicians have long speculated that poor sleep may be a mechanism involved in the higher risk of further cardiac events or death among those with post-traumatic stress disorder following a heart attack, but the association between PTSD and sleep after a heart event has been unknown.
Recent data from Columbia University Medical Center researchers have shown that symptoms of PTSD after a heart attack are relatively common. A PLOS ONE study (published in June 2012) found that 1 in 8 heart attack survivors suffer PTSD and that survivors with PTSD have a doubled risk of having another cardiac event or of dying within one to three years, compared with survivors without PTSD.
A paper published in the current issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, by Jonathan A. Shaffer, PhD, and colleagues at Columbia’s Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, reports on an analysis of the association of PTSD and sleep in nearly 200 patients who had experienced a heart attack within the previous month, recruited from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. The study—the first of its kind—found that PTSD following a heart attack is associated with poor sleep.
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