Type B Aortic Dissection Patients Should Be Screened for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a critical mental health consideration in patients with Stanford type B aortic dissection (TBAD), and may compromise employment status, according to a study presented at the ACC.20 World Congress of Cardiology.

Study researchers assessed 179 patients who were administered a Lifestyle Survey that used a 4-item Primary Care Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder screen (PC-PTSD). They considered patients to have PTSD if they answered affirmatively to three out of four questions regarding the past month experiences. The participants were also asked to provide answers regarding their activity level and employment status.

The results of the study showed that 22% of patients screened positive for PTSD, and 33% were observed to be constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled after dissection. Additionally, 36% of participants felt numb or detached from others, activities, or their surroundings after dissection while 26% experienced nightmares about their dissection and had lingering thoughts about it. Moreover, the study found that 28% of participants tried hard not to think about their dissection and searched for ways to avoid situations that remind them of it. Furthermore, 37% of patients expressed they were retired or unemployed because of their dissection and were more likely to screen positive for PTSD if they were retired or unemployed due to their dissection.

“Physicians should screen all aortic dissection patients for PTSD at follow up visits to identify and refer patients with this condition for further testing and treatment,” the authors concluded. “Trauma focused psychotherapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be warranted.”

Pasadyn S. Type B Aortic Dissection Patients Should Be Screened for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Presented at the ACC.20 World Congress of Cardiology; March 28-30, Chicago, IL.