Anxiety and PTSD in Cardiac patients
Dr Hugh Koch & Dr Alice Knight
Copland, Joekes and Ayers (2011) recently described how approximately 50% of cardiac patients may have symptoms of anxiety, half of whom will have clinically significant anxiety disorders. This level of anxiety can affect the development of heart disease, its course and possible rehabilitation.
After sudden cardiac events such as myocardial infection or cardiac arrest, 15-30 % develop symptoms of acute stress with half of these developing PTSD. They conclude that research shows that anxiety symptoms are a risk factor for the development of heart disease. Screening and treatment for anxiety is critical in cardiac settings and primary care. Appropriate management of anxiety and stress should lead to increased quality of life and reduced morbidity or mortality for these patients.
In personal injury and medical negligence cases in which cardiac disease or adverse cardiac events have occurred, it is appropriate to consider the careful assessment of psychological factors prior to or following such events.
Copland C, Joekes K and Ayers S (2011), Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in cardiac patients, British Journal of Wellbeing Vol 12. No 1