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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Risk for Stroke in Young and Middle-Aged Adults: A 13-Year Cohort Study.

Rosman L, Sico JJ, Lampert R, Gaffey AE, Ramsey CM, Dziura J, Chui PW, Cavanagh CE, Brandt C, Haskell S, Burg MM. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Risk for Stroke in Young and Middle-Aged Adults: A 13-Year Cohort Study. Stroke. 2019 Nov 1; 50(11):2996-3003.

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Background and Purpose- In older populations, transient ischemic attack (TIA) and ischemic stroke have been linked to psychological factors, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Whether PTSD also increases risk for early incident stroke in young adults is unknown. Methods- We prospectively assessed the incidence of TIA and ischemic stroke in a cohort of 987?855 young and middle-aged Veterans (mean age of 30.29±9.19 years; 87.8% men, 64.4% white) who first accessed care through the Veterans Health Administration from October 2001 to November 2014 and were free of TIA and ischemic stroke at baseline. For each outcome, time-varying multivariate Cox models were constructed to examine the effect of PTSD on incident stroke. We also assessed for effect modification by sex. Additional sensitivity analyses controlled for healthcare utilization. Results- Over a 13-year period, TIA and ischemic stroke were diagnosed in 766 and 1877 patients, respectively. PTSD was diagnosed in 28.6% of the sample during follow-up. In unadjusted analyses, PTSD was significantly associated with new-onset TIA (hazard ratio [HR],?2.02; 95% CI,?1.62-2.52) and ischemic stroke (HR,?1.62; 95% CI,?1.47-1.79). In fully adjusted models, the association between PTSD and incident TIA (HR, 1.61; 95% CI,?1.27-2.04) and ischemic stroke (HR, 1.36; 95% CI,?1.22-1.52) remained significant. The effect of PTSD on ischemic stroke risk was stronger in men than in women (HR, 0.63; 95% CI,?0.47-0.86; = 0.003), but no effect of sex was found for TIA. Conclusions- PTSD is associated with a significant increase in risk of early incident TIA and ischemic stroke independent of established stroke risk factors, coexisting psychiatric disorders, and healthcare utilization. Sex moderated the relationship for adults with ischemic stroke but not TIA. These findings suggest that psychological factors, including PTSD, may be important targets for future age-specific prevention strategies for young adults.

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