The Occurrence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Patients Following Intensive Care Treatment: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Random Sample

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can now be applied to patients who have just had intensive care treatment. The authors tested whether the reliability of the diagnosis depends on the measuring instrument used and whether the occurrence of PTSD is related to the presence of preexisting psychic disorders or to a worsening of the patients' general condition. The authors examined 41 former patients of an intensive care unit (ICU) with the Posttraumatic Scale (PTSS-10) and, afterward, with the Structured Clinical Interview (SCID). Screening with PTSS-10 showed that 17.07% of the patients met the recommended threshold for probable diagnosis of PTSD of 35 or more points. With SCID, PTSD could be confirmed in 9.76% of the cases. Patients with a prior psychiatric disease showed more frequent (P < .02) occurrences of PTSD. The severity of their Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation System II (Apache II) scores had no significant influence. PTSS-10 can be used for a preliminary diagnostic orientation. With the PTSD module of the SCID, a structured diagnostic tool is available. Almost twice as many PTSD cases were diagnosed among the subjects with the PTSS-10 as with SCID. Post-ICU PTSD occurred more frequently among patients with prior psychiatric diseases; however, it was not dependent on exacerbation of the patient's Apache II scores.

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