Acute post-traumatic stress in survivors of critical illness who were mechanically ventilated: a mixed methods study.

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Journal Article
Intensive Crit Care Nurs, 2011, 27 (6), pp. 338 - 346
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This study investigated the severity of post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, the relationships between PTS symptoms and clinical and demographic characteristics and the subjective experiences of patients who were critically ill and mechanically ventilated in intensive care. Study participants (n=97) completed the Impact of Event Scale (IES) to assess avoidance and intrusive symptoms of PTS within one week of hospital discharge. A subset (n=5) with IES scores suggestive of symptoms of PTS participated in semistructured interviews analysed with content analysis. Participants had a mean age of 57.73 years, 40% were female and median duration of ventilation was 90.98 hours. The mean IES score was 20.34. Scores >25 were reported by 37% and were associated with younger age (p<0.05) in bivariate analysis; multiple linear regression showed no independent associations with IES scores. The interviews revealed distorted perception and gaps in memory of ICU, fear of recurrence of illness, avoidance of usual activities and sleeping problems as common. In conclusion, high levels of symptoms of PTS were present in one-third of ICU survivors. There were no independent relationships between PTS and patient characteristics studied. Experiences of interviewees with high distress scores were consistent with those reported in other studies of ICU survivors.
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