Abnormal ECG Patterns in Chronic Post-War PTSD Patients: A Pilot Study
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric syndrome associated with high levels of sympathetic activation of the autonomic nervous system. Individuals diagnosed with PTSD have a high propensity for electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities, atrioventricular conductive defects, and cerebrovascular incidents.
The aim of this study was to investigate ECG abnormalities in post-war PTSD patients.
This pilot study compared patients diagnosed with chronic post-war PTSD (n = 30) to patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 24) and healthy controls (n = 20). Following the completion of the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM (SCID), participants were assessed with a standard 12-lead ECG.
ECG abnormalities were observed in 66.7% of PTSD patients and 70.8% of MDD patients. In contrast, only 28.6% of the healthy control group showed ECG abnormalities. Multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for participants' sex, smoking rate, education level, disease duration, and marital status. The results indicated that PTSD and MDD patients were more likely to have ECG abnormalities than the normal population (odds ratio for PTSD = 12.7, 95% confidence interval 1.9–83.9; and odds ratio for MDD = 14.9, 95% confidence interval 1.3–170.5).
PTSD and MDD patients showed elevated rates of ECG abnormalities compared to healthy controls. These findings have important implications for the medical treatment of PTSD and MDD given that both of these patient groups appear to be at increased risk of cardiovascular disorder.
KeywordsPTSD ECG War Depression Mood disorder
- 6.Sadock BJ, Sadock VA. Kaplan and Sadock's comprehensive textbook of psychiatry (comprehensive textbook of psychiatry). New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004.Google Scholar
- 7.American Psychiatric Association., American Psychiatric Association. Task Force on DSM-IV. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders : DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.Google Scholar
- 29.Marriott HJL. Challenging ECGs. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, INC.; 2002.Google Scholar
- 33.Cohen H, Benjamin J, Geva AB, Matar MA, Kaplan Z, Kotler M. Autonomic dysregulation in panic disorder and in post-traumatic stress disorder: application of power spectrum analysis of heart rate variability at rest and in response to recollection of trauma or panic attacks. Psychiatry Res. 2000;96(1):1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 35.Fredrikson M, Blumenthal JA, Evans DD, Sherwood A, Light KC. Cardiovascular responses in the laboratory and in the natural environment: is blood pressure reactivity to laboratory-induced mental stress related to ambulatory blood pressure during everyday life? J Psychosom Res. 1989;33(6):753–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 42.Khazaie H, Tahmasian M, Khoshbakht M, Chehri A, Sepehry AA. Serum lipid concentrations in Iranian Veterans with combat-related chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. Iranian J Psychiatr Behav Sci. 2007;1:22–6.Google Scholar