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Open Access EMDR for Survivors of Life-Threatening Cardiac Events: Results of a Pilot Study

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This pilot study evaluated the effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and concomitant depressive and anxiety symptoms in survivors of life-threatening cardiac events. Forty-two patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation who (a) qualified for the PTSD criterion “A” in relation to a cardiac event and (b) presented clinically significant PTSD symptoms were randomized to a 4-week treatment of EMDR or imaginal exposure (IE). Data were gathered on PTSD, anxiety, and depressive symptoms at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. EMDR was effective in reducing PTSD, depressive, and anxiety symptoms and performed significantly better than IE for all variables. These findings provide preliminary support for EMDR as an effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety that can follow a life-threatening cardiac event.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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