We determined the association of psychiatric symptoms in the year after Hurricane Katrina with subsequent hospitalization and mortality in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients.Methods
A prospective cohort of ESRD patients (n = 391) treated at 9 hemodialysis centers in the New Orleans, Louisiana, area in the weeks before Hurricane Katrina were assessed for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms via telephone interview 9 to 15 months later. Two combined outcomes through August 2009 (maximum 3.5-year follow-up) were analyzed: (1) all-cause and (2) cardiovascular-related hospitalization and mortality.Results
Twenty-four percent of participants screened positive for PTSD and 46% for depression; 158 participants died (79 cardiovascular deaths), and 280 participants were hospitalized (167 for cardiovascular-related causes). Positive depression screening was associated with 33% higher risk of all-cause (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.06, 1.66) and cardiovascular-related hospitalization and mortality (HR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.01, 1.76). PTSD was not significantly associated with either outcome.Conclusions
Depression in the year after Hurricane Katrina was associated with increased risk of hospitalization and mortality in ESRD patients, underscoring the long-term consequences of natural disasters for vulnerable populations.