Psychiatrist, Writer, Commentator

Posttraumatic stress disorder after injury: does admission to intensive care unit increase risk?.

Wednesday, 01st September 2010
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care. 69(3):627-32, 2010 Sep.
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to index the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after injury requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission to investigate whether an ICU admission after injury increases risk for PTSD and to identify predictors of PTSD after ICU admission. METHODS: A two-group (those admitted to the ICU vs. those not admitted to ICU), prospective, cohort study of 829 randomly selected injury patients from five major trauma hospitals across Australia. We collected information on factors that may increase risk for PTSD including demographic variables (gender, age, income, education, and marital status), preinjury mental health status (prior trauma, psychiatric history, and prior social support), and injury characteristics (mild traumatic brain injury, injury severity, length of hospital admission, discharge destination, pain, and perceived threat). PTSD was measured at 12 months by structured clinical interview. RESULTS: ICU patients were significantly more likely to have PTSD at 12 months than trauma controls (17% vs. 7%). Stepwise logistic regressions showed that an ICU admission significantly contributed to the development of PTSD after controlling for demographic, preinjury mental health status, and injury characteristic variables. CONCLUSIONS: Injury patients are three times more likely to develop later PTSD if they have an ICU admission. Given we controlled for many risk variables, it seems that an ICU admission itself may contribute to the development of PTSD. Mental health services such as screening and early intervention may be particularly useful for this population.