Trauma and psychiatric disorders: A systematic review

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Suicide is currently a topic of high priority for policy-makers, researchers and clinicians. The World Health Organization estimated 804,000 suicide deaths worldwide in 2012. Some studies that focused on patients with self-inflicted injury revealed that mortality in this group is higher than for patients who sustain unintentional injury. However little is known about the impact of psychiatric disorders on health care resources including length of hospital stay.


To determine whether trauma patients with a psychiatric disorder or after attempting suicide are at higher risk of a complicated course than patients without a psychiatric disorder or accidental cause. The secondary objective was to provide an overview of the current literature on the same group of trauma patients with psychiatric comorbidity in regard to mortality rate, length of stay, hospital costs and quality of life. Our primary outcome measure, complicated course, was found to be most clinically relevant.


We searched PubMed, Embase and PsycInfo electronic databases. All searches were updated to March 2016. The methodological quality was assessed using the QUIPS tool.


Our search identified 9284 articles (PubMed 3660, Embase 2590, PsycInfo 3034). Of these, 18 articles were included. Four studies investigated the association between psychiatric disorders and a complicated course after trauma, three found a significant higher risk of complications. Mortality was reviewed in 14 studies, of which seven showed significant higher risk of in-hospital mortality for trauma patients with psychiatric disorder. Eight of nine studies found significant prolonged length of stay for these patients.


Patients who have a psychiatric disorder or who have attempted suicide are at higher risk of increased in-hospital mortality and prolonged length of stay after sustaining injuries. These patients also tend to be at higher risk of complications after severe trauma, however future research is needed to confirm these potentially important implications.


Systematic review, level III.

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