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Can we predict intensive care relatives at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder?

Author(s): Pillai Lalitha | Aigalikar Supriya | Vishwasrao Sunil | Husainy S. M. K.

Journal: Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine
ISSN 0972-5229

Volume: 14;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 83;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Hospital anxiety and depression scale score | ICU patient | IES-R score | posttraumatic disorder

Aims: To identify the relatives of the intensive care unit (ICU) patients at risk for developing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorders. Setting: A multidisciplinary hospital ICU. Design: Prospective single center observational study. Material and Methods: Relatives of patients admitted in the ICU (May06-Nov06) who consented to answer the questionnaire participated in the study. Anxiety was assessed by using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD) and vulnerability to posttraumatic disorder (PTSD) by using the Impact of Event Scale Revised (IES-R) which was administered on the fifth day of admission and at two months following discharge or death. Results: During admission, 48% of the relatives had a HAD score >11 and 72% showed IES-R score >26. There was no association of HAD with gender, patient outcome, working status, age of the patient, or mode of payment of the bills. There was significant association of IES-R >26 with trauma admission, HAD score >11 and mode of payment with the relatives of insured being more stressed as compared to those who settled their bills personally. A total of 35% relatives showed symptoms of posttraumatic stress reaction consistent with a high risk of PTSD after two months. Death in the hospital resulted in elevated HAD and IES-R score during admission and at the two month follow-up. Persistence of stress symptoms was more in school drop outs, working relatives, parents and those with initial anxiety score >11. Conclusions: HAD score greater than 11 was the only factor at admission which could statistically predict a higher PTSD score on follow-up. Adequate counseling of this group of relatives may prevent lasting psychological sequelae of an ICU admission in the relatives of critically ill.

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