MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Jodie Ingles
GradDipGenCouns MPH PhD
Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney
National Coordinator, Australian Genetic Heart Disease Registry
Research Officer, Molecular Cardiology
Centenary Institute Newtown Australia
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Ingles : Sudden cardiac death of a young relative is devastating for the family. Not only are they grieving, but must come to terms with the familial risk to other family members. The clinical and genetic aspects of family management are beginning to be better understood, but there has been a lack of research regarding the psychological impact to family members. We found 1 in 2 family members report significant symptoms of prolonged grief and posttraumatic stress warranting need for specialized intervention by a clinical psychologist. Furthermore, we found those family members who witnessed the death or discovered the decedents body were 3 to 4 times more likely to report these symptoms.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Ingles : Following a young sudden cardiac death, all family members should be offered clinical psychological support. Both prolonged grief and posttraumatic stress confer greater risk for poor health outcomes in future, therefore recognition and intervention if required should be considered in all cases. Family management is complex and clinicians should consider referral to a specialized multidisciplinary clinic. Furthermore, these clinics should consider inclusion of a clinical psychologist in their team.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Ingles : Next steps for this research area must be understanding the most effective ways to offer psychological support and ultimately improve outcomes long term for this group.
Ingles J, Spinks C, Yeates L, McGeechan K, Kasparian N, Semsarian C. Posttraumatic Stress and Prolonged Grief After the Sudden Cardiac Death of a Young Relative. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 25, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7808.
Dr Jodie Ingles (2016). After the Sudden Cardiac Death of a Young Relative, Family Members Need Support