Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Treating cardiovascular disease in persons with mental health disorders

How can we most effectively prevent and treat cardiovascular disease among persons with serious mental disorders?

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Clinical anxiety disorders affects 40 million people in the US and the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is 6-8%,. The incidence of PTSD in particular is rapidly expanding in the US; this condition doubles the risk of a cardiac event.

The prevalence rates are higher in some populations; 3 out of 10 US military veterans have a diagnosis of PTSD, and many more are undiagnosed. Among patients at a VA, a diagnosis of PTSD increased the probability of circulatory problems (odds ratio 3.7). In another study, every additional PTSD symptom increased the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17%. Thus, the impact of developing more effective treatments adapted to the needs of this vulnerable population could be significant.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

As the incidence of many mental health disorders such as PTSD and depression increases, the need for developing and adapting treatments for this population becomes critical.

Effective treatments may not be optimal for persons with serious mental illnesses and strategies to tailor treatments to the challenges of this vulnerable population are needed.
Individuals with mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders are at significantly higher risk for cardiovascular disease than are those without these illnesses. Those with serious mental illnesses die an average of 25 years earlier, frequently from cardiovascular disease. The incidence of PTSD is rapidly expanding in the US; this condition doubles the risk of cardiovascular events.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea NHLBI Staff



19 net votes
30 up votes
11 down votes
Idea No. 235