Prevalence and Correlates of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Adults With Congenital Heart Disease

Am J Cardiol. 2016 Mar 1;117(5):853-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.11.065. Epub 2015 Dec 13.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with adverse outcomes and increased mortality in cardiac patients. No studies have examined PTSD in the adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) population. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of self-reported symptoms of PTSD in patients with ACHD and explore potential associated factors. Patients were enrolled from an outpatient ACHD clinic and completed several validated measures including the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Clinical data were abstracted through medical data review. A total of 134 participants (mean age 34.6 ± 10.6; 46% men) were enrolled. Of the 127 participants who completed the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, 14 (11%) met criteria for elevated PTSD symptoms specifically related to their congenital heart disease or treatment. Of the 134 patients who completed PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, 27 (21%) met criteria for global PTSD symptoms. In univariate analyses, patients with congenital heart disease-specific PTSD had their most recent cardiac surgery at an earlier year (p = 0.008), were less likely to have attended college (p = 0.04), had higher rates of stroke or transient ischemic attack (p = 0.03), and reported greater depressive symptoms on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (7 vs 2, p <0.001). In multivariable analysis, the 2 factors most strongly associated with PTSD were depressive symptoms (p <0.001) and year of most recent cardiac surgery (p <0.03). In conclusion, PTSD is present in 11% to 21% of subjects seen at a tertiary referral center for ACHD. The high prevalence of PTSD in this complex group of patients has important implications for the medical and psychosocial management of this growing population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Young Adult