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Post-traumatic stress disorder in serious accidental injury: 3-year follow-up study

  • Urs Hepp (a1), Hanspeter Moergeli (a2), Stefan Buchi (a2), Helke Bruchhaus-Steinert (a3), Bernd Kraemer (a2), Tom Sensky (a4) and Ulrich Schnyder (a2)...
Abstract
Background

Long-term data on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following accidents are scarce.

Aims

To assess and predict PTSD in people 3 years after severe accidental injury.

Method

Severely injured patients were recruited consecutively from the intensive care unit (n=121) and assessed within 1 month of the trauma. Follow-up interviews were conducted 6 months, 12 months and 36 months later; 90 patients participated in all four interviews. Symptoms were assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale.

Results

Post-traumatic stress disorder was diagnosed in 6% of patients 2 weeks after the accident, in 2% after 1 year and in 4% after 3 years. Robust predictors of later PTSD symptom level were intrusive symptoms shortly after the accident and biographical risk factors. There were individual changes over time between the categories PTSD, sub-threshold PTSD and no PTSD. Whereas PTSD symptom severity was low or decreased for most of the patients, some of them showed an increase or a delayed onset. Patients with persisting PTSD symptoms at 6 months and patients with delayed onset of symptoms are at risk of long-term PTSD.

Conclusions

The prevalence of PTSD was low over the whole period of 3 years.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Urs Hepp, Psychiatrische Dienste Aargau AG, Haselstrasse 1, CH-5401 Baden, Switzerland. Email: Urs.Hepp@pdag.ch
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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Post-traumatic stress disorder in serious accidental injury: 3-year follow-up study

  • Urs Hepp (a1), Hanspeter Moergeli (a2), Stefan Buchi (a2), Helke Bruchhaus-Steinert (a3), Bernd Kraemer (a2), Tom Sensky (a4) and Ulrich Schnyder (a2)...
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