Study finds link between PTSD and heart disease among vets

Researchers from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health have found an association between post-traumatic stress disorder and cardiovascular health. Those with PTSD were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease.

The study included 562 male fraternal and identical twins who are veterans of the Vietnam war, and spanned a 13-year period.

In a press release from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of NHLBI, noted that further research is needed to better understand the link “to guide the development of effective prevention and treatment strategies for people with these serious conditions.”

Using twins allowed the researchers to control for the influences of genes and the environment; lifestyle factors, major depression and other psychiatric diagnoses were also taken into account.

The study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health. It was published online this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and will appear in print in the September 10 issue.