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Minerva Anestesiologica 2005 April;71(4):167-79


language: English, Italian

Post-traumatic stress disorder-related symptoms after intensive care

Capuzzo M. 1, Valpondi V. 1, Cingolani E. 1, Gianstefani G. 1, De Luca S. 1, Grassi L. 2, Alvisi R. 1

1 Department of Surgical, Anaesthetic and Radiological Sciences Section of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care University Hospital of Ferrara Ferrara, Italy 2 Department of Medical Sciences of Communication and Behaviour Section of Psychiatry University Hospital of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy


Aim. To determine the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related symptoms in a population of intensive care unit (ICU) admitted patients and the relationship between PTSD-related symptoms and memories of ICU.
Methods. Adults consecutively admitted to an ICU of a University hospital during 1 year, who stayed in the ICU at least 3 days, were prospectively studied. A questionnaire (ICU memory tool) was administered to 84 patients 1 week after ICU discharge and to 63 of them after 3 months. Past medical history and clinical variables present during ICU stay were collected.
Results. At the 1st interview, 5 patients (5.9%) did not remember to have been in ICU. Of the remaining 79 patients (males 59.5%, median age 69 years, SAPS II 34, APACHE II 14 and ICU stay 5 days), 4 reported intrusive memories and none panic attacks. The Impact of Events Scale (IES), available in 3 of them, scored in medium/high levels. Only the median number of factual memories reported by the patients with and without intrusive memories was significantly different (4 interquartile range 2-5 vs 8 interquartile range 6-10; p=0.002). The patients with intrusive memories at the 1st interview did not report them at the 2nd interview. Two patients not having panic or intrusive memories at the 1st interview reported PTSD-related symptoms after 3 months.
Conclusion. In a general ICU population, few patients (5%) have PTSD-related symptoms and those who present those symptoms report less factual memories of ICU stay.

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