Paced ED May Trigger PTSD in Heart Patients

By Cole Petrochko, Staff Writer, Med Page Today/February 11, 2013

Emergency department crowding may lead acute coronary syndrome patients to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, potentially resulting in ACS recurrence or mortality, researchers found.

In a small study, greater emergency department crowding was tied to higher levels of 1-month PTSD symptoms induced by ACS, according to Donald Edmondson, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and colleagues.

In an accompanying editorial, Patrick O’Malley, MD, MPH, of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, DC, emphasized that the emergency department environment can be “extremely frightening” and that, to respond to this fear, healthcare professionals should “build structures and develop processes that make it easier to care for patients in optimal environments.”

“At the very least, our environments of care should not be contributing to morbidity,” he concluded.

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