(HealthDay News) – For patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), such as myocardial infarction or unstable angina, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is approximately 12%, and the presence of ACS-induced PTSD is associated with a doubling of the risk of subsequent ACS events and death, according to a study published online June 20 in PLoS One.

To investigate the prevalence of ACS-induced PTSD and the association of ACS-induced PTSD with adverse clinical outcomes, Donald Edmondson, PhD, from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies that assessed PTSD with specific reference to an ACS event at least one month earlier. A total of 24 articles involving 2,383 patients met the inclusion criteria.

The researchers found the aggregated prevalence estimate to be 12% for clinically significant symptoms of ACS-induced PTSD. There was wide variation in the individual study prevalence estimates, with the use of a screening instrument (16% in 16 studies) vs. a clinical diagnostic interview (4% in eight studies) accounting for significant heterogeneity in the estimates. Across 3 studies, involving 609 patients, the aggregated point estimate for the magnitude of the association between ACS-induced PTSD and clinical outcomes indicated a doubling of risk in patients with ACS with clinically significant PTSD symptoms, compared to patients without PTSD symptoms (risk ratio, 2.00).

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“This meta-analysis suggests that clinically significant PTSD symptoms induced by ACS are moderately prevalent and are associated with increased risk for recurrent cardiac events and mortality,” the authors conclude.

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