PTSD among cardiac patients and their caregivers

  • N. Vilchinsky
  • K. Fait


Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe emotional reaction to a concrete stressor such as a manmade atrocity or a natural disaster. In recent years, much scientific attention has been devoted to exploring the possibility that illnesses and especially cardiac illness might also be regarded as causes of PTSD. However, only a handful of studies have focused on cardiac-disease-induced PTSD (CDI-PTSD) among patients’ caregivers. The current talk will focus on PTSD as a consequence of cardiac illness, among both patients and their spouses-caregivers. Methods: I will shed light on the state-of- the-art knowledge in this field, focusing specifically on evidence regarding to family members. Then I will present our lab retrospective, qualitative and prospective studies which focused on cardiac induced PTSD in the family. Findings: Our literature review detected only 4 studies ever published on the subject of caregivers’ CDI-PTSD. Our retrospective study showed that caregivers had twice as much CDI-PTSD as patients. Finally, preliminary longitudinal findings detect that CDI-PTSD hamper the support transactions among patients and caregivers and its effectivity to promote patients’ self-management. Discussion: I will discuss the unique ramifications of PTSD resulting from cardiac illness in the family in terms of wellbeing, support transactions and self-management. Ultimately, this kind of comprehensive understanding will be translated into effective interventions for both patients and their family caregivers.
Oral presentations