More Data Link PTSD, Cardiovascular Disease

Article excerpt

ORLANDO, FLA. -- The cumulative evidence connecting psychological trauma with cardiovascular disease is becoming increasingly convincing. Joseph A. Boscarino, Ph.D., said at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.

Dr. Boscarino, a senior scientist at the New York Academy of Medicine, reviewed existing literature and presented his latest findings from an ongoing study of Vietnam veterans. Overall, the data point to links between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular symptomatology, disease, and mortality.

"There are very few negative studies. It all goes in one direction," he said.

At least 13 published population-based and clinical studies involving 50,000 subjects have investigated the relationship between traumatic events and subsequent adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Among them are Dr. Boscarino's own study of more than 4,000 Vietnam veterans 20 years after the war, in which those who had PTSD had increased rates of atrioventricular conduction defects, even after controlling for multiple confounders (Ann. Behav. Med. 21[3]:227-34, 1999).

Other data regarding war and battle trauma include increased rates of arteriographic abnormalities among those exposed to traumatic events during Beirut's civil war, increased rates of physician-diagnosed arterial disease in veterans of World War II and the Korean War, and increases in angina pectoris among Dutch resistance veterans. …

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