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ATS: PTSD Symptoms Common in ICU Survivors

Younger age, having frightening ICU memories, and benzodiazepines up risk

MONDAY, May 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- One-quarter to one-third of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms up to one year after ICU stay, according to a meta-analysis presented at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society, held from May 16 to 21 in San Diego.

Thiti Sricharoenchai, M.D., from Thammasat University in Pathum Thani, Thailand, and colleagues conducted a literature review to identify studies of ≥10 adult ICU survivors with substantial PTSD symptoms. All studies used validated PTSD instruments at least one month post-ICU.

The researchers identified 28 articles on 25 unique cohorts (two of 25 from the United States), representing 3,437 patients. One to six months post-ICU, the pooled prevalence of clinically important PTSD symptoms was 23 and 42 percent (based on 429 patients and using The Impact of Events Scale threshold ≥35 and ≥20, respectively). At seven to 12 months post-ICU, the pooled prevalence of PTSD symptoms was 34 and 36 percent, respectively, in 698 patients. Greater PTSD symptoms were consistently associated with younger age. Clinical factors for PTSD symptoms included benzodiazepine administration, mechanical ventilation, and post-ICU memories of frightening ICU experiences. There was no association found between PTSD symptoms and ICU length of stay, severity of illness, or admission diagnosis.

"Our meta-analysis confirms that a large proportion of patients who survive an ICU stay will suffer PTSD symptoms, which are associated with worse health-related quality of life," Sricharoenchai said in a statement. "Further research should focus on PTSD screening, prevention, and treatment in this vulnerable patient population."

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