Cardiac Arrests Affect Survivors’ Mental Health

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Every year, about 350,000 people in Europe have a cardiac arrest. This is when the heart suddenly stops working. Less than 20% of people who have a cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive. A study from Amsterdam UMC found that women who survive are more likely to have anxiety and depression. Both men and women also face more economic problems as they get older. This means we need to give more help to people who have had a cardiac arrest. The results were published today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes.

Robin Smits, a researcher at Amsterdam Public Health, said, “We looked at what happens to people five years after a cardiac arrest. We found that antidepressant prescriptions for women went up by 50% in the first year. This did not happen for men. After five years, this increase was still around 20%.”

Smits added, “We need more research to understand why this happens. But we can already see that women need more support after a cardiac arrest.”

The research team studied 1250 people in the Netherlands who survived a cardiac arrest. The average age was 53. They found that not only did mental health issues increase, but also economic problems. Employment rates and earnings went down. Many people also lost their status as the main earner in their household after a cardiac arrest. This shows that it is hard for them to go back to work.

Another study by the same research group, together with the University of Copenhagen, showed that women live longer than men after a cardiac arrest. Smits said, “When we combine these findings, we see that while women may survive longer, they are more likely to have mental health problems after a cardiac arrest.”

Key Insights:

  • Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops suddenly.
  • Women who survive a cardiac arrest often face more anxiety and depression.
  • Survivors, both men and women, face economic challenges as they age.
  • Women live longer than men after a cardiac arrest but have more mental health issues.

Source: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes

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