Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Heart Failure in Men Within the Veteran Affairs Health System

Marat Fudim, Lukasz P. Cerbin, Srikant Devaraj, Tarek Ajam, Sunil V. Rao, Masoor Kamalesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at risk of multiple co-morbidities and are more likely to develop incident heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The relation of PTSD with clinical outcomes in HFrEF is not established. US veterans diagnosed with HFrEF from January 2007 to January 2015 and treated nationwide in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health System were included in the study. Patients with HFrEF were identified through International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes. Mortality data were obtained from the VA's death registry. We compared characteristics of patients with HFrEF with and without PTSD. We identified 111,970 VA patients with HFrEF and 11,039 patients with concomitant PTSD (9.9%). Patients with PTSD and HFrEF tended to be younger (64 vs 69 years) and have a higher rate of coronary artery disease (73% vs 64%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (42% vs 31%), and hypertension (80% vs 64%, p <0.01 for all variables). Patients with PTSD and HFrEF were more commonly on a high-dose β blocker (70% vs 68%, p <0.01) and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (96% vs 93%, p <0.01). PTSD was associated with significantly increased mortality at 7 years compared with patients with heart failure without PTSD (adjusted 1.54, 95% confidence interval 1.30 to 1.82, p <0.01). In conclusion, nearly 10% of veterans with HFrEF have PTSD. Patients with HFrEF with PTSD have a higher burden of co-morbidities, and PTSD is associated with a higher rate of all-cause death. Our findings support greater attention to the treatment of patients with PTSD and the causes associated with the poor outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-278
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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