Surviving a heart attack can leave people with feelings of intense fear, painful intrusive memories and hyperarousal that may qualify an individual for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Between 8-20% of patients with acute coronary syndromes and 27-38% of those who survive a cardiac arrest develop PTSD. A German study looked at 211 patients who had received implantable cardiac defibrillators in 1998, assessed them 27 months afterwards to see which of them had developed PTSD and followed them up in March 2005 to see how they were getting on. Those patients with PTSD were 2.4 times more likely to die than the other patients once the effects of age and gender had been taken into account.
You can find out more about this research at