Previous evidence has shown positive associations between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hypertension, dyslipidaemia and diabetes mellitus, which are all risk factors for stroke, but the role of PTSD in the subsequent development of stroke is still unknown.
To investigate the temporal association between PTSD and the development of stroke.
Identified from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 5217 individuals aged 18 years, with PTSD but with no history of stroke, and 20 868 age- and gender-matched controls were enrolled between 2002 and 2009, and followed up until the end of 2011 to identify the development of stroke.
Individuals with PTSD had an increased risk of developing any stroke (hazard ratio (HR) 3.37, 95% CI 2.44–4.67) and ischaemic stroke (HR = 3.47, 95% CI 2.23–5.39) after adjusting for demographic data and medical comorbidities. Sensitivity tests showed consistent findings (any stroke HR = 3.02, 95% CI 2.13–4.28; ischaemic stroke HR = 2.89, 95% CI 1.79–4.66) after excluding the first year of observation.
Individuals with PTSD have an increased risk of developing any stroke and ischaemic stroke. Further studies are required to investigate the underlying mechanisms.