Patients with serious mental illness need to be treated for physical and mental health

November 09, 2015

Results show that Ontarians who take 'atypical antipsychotics,' which are part of standard therapy, were about 40% more likely to be readmitted to hospital for serious cardiovascular conditions when compared to the appendicitis group. This was true even when smoking and other known risk factors for heart disease were taken into account, says Dr. Callaghan.

The study analyzed Ontario statistics from 2002-2006 on a total of 20,000 patients' admission to the Emergency Room or hospital, based on diagnoses for either schizophrenia or appendicitis. The admission statistics are compiled by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

The study is "Schizophrenia and the incidence of cardiovascular morbidity: A population-based longitudinal study in Ontario, Canada," published today in Schizophrenia Research.

Similar results for bipolar disorder

In another phase of the same study, analysis of the hospital data found a similar risk pattern for individuals who have bipolar disorder. That research report was published earlier this month in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

"The bottom line is the same. We need to combine primary care with psychiatric care in order to close the gap, treat the whole person, and prevent both psychiatric and cardiovascular risk factors," he says.

The research reports were supported by an institutional grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.