An issue I commonly encounter is a veteran who has filed a claim for heart disease that is secondary to their service-connected Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or a spouse of a veteran attempting to get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) because stress from PTSD contributed to or lent aid to a heart condition that caused the veteran’s death. Establishing service connection for issues such as Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) as secondary to the stress and anxiety associated with PTSD can be difficult and I highly recommend that the veteran obtain a medical nexus statement from their treating physician. That said, the VA’s own National Center for PTSD has documented that “PTSD has been consistently associated with a greater likelihood of cardiovascular morbidity” and “a number of studies have found an association between PTSD and poor cardiovascular health.”
In relation to heart disease, there is a substantial body of medical and scientific literature that has associated the stress and anxiety related to PTSD with heart diseases. Below, I have provided citations and links to that research. If you have questions regarding your claim for disability compensation before the VA, please do not hesitate to contact us at www.finkrosner.com or via telephone at (732) 382-6070:
(1) Ahmadi N, Hajsadeghi F, Mirshkarlo HB, Budoff M, Yehuda R, Ebrahimi R. Post-traumatic stress disorder, coronary atherosclerosis, and mortality. Am J
Cardiol. 2011;108(1) (2011), at http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0002-9149/PIIS0002914911011386.pdf;
(2) Boscarino, J.A., A Prospective Study of PTSD and Early-Age Heart Disease Mortality Among Vietnam Veterans: Implications for Surveillance and Prevention.
Psychosomatic Medicine, 70, 668-767 (2008), at http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/70/6/668.full.pdf;
(3) Bedi U.S., Arora R. Cardiovascular manifestations of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of the National Medical Association. 2007; 99(6):642–649 (2007), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2574374/pdf/jnma00205-0048.pdf; and
(4) Ormel J, Von Korff M, Burger H, Scott K, Demyttenaere K, Huang YQ, et al. Mental disorders among persons with heart disease – results from World Mental Health surveys. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Vol. 29:325–34 (2007), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048744/.