Heart Attack Side Effect: PTSD

Research also shows PTSD makes second attack more likely
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2012 1:37 PM CDT
Heart Attack Side Effect: PTSD
Heart attacks can mess up your mind, too.   (Shutterstock)

Having a heart attack can leave you pretty messed up in the head, and being messed up in the head may actually make you more likely to have another heart attack, a new study suggests. By surveying 24 earlier studies, researchers found that roughly one out of every eight patients with some form of acute coronary syndrome winds up suffering from PTSD, and those patients ended up being twice as likely to have a second attack or die in the next few years, WebMD reports.

The study's authors contend that cardiologists aren't paying enough attention to PTSD, which can be diagnosed pretty accurately using a four-question test. "It takes next to no time," the lead researcher says. "Paying attention to PTSD is a no-brainer." While doctors have long known that heart attacks have psychological effects, most are unaware that full-blown PTSD can be one of them, the New York Times explains. Smaller studies have suggested it's an issue, but they've been too small to reach definitive conclusions on their own. (More cardiac arrest stories.)

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