BACKGROUND: Posttraumatic stress disorder, a common psychiatric disorder in the general population, may follow a traumatic experience of awareness with recall during general anesthesia.
METHODS: We conducted a matched cohort design with 9 subjects after intraoperative awareness with recall during general anesthesia. A psychiatric diagnostic interview and questionnaire were performed on 9 matched controls and 9 subjects, a median of 17.2 years from their documented awareness episode. The subjects and the matched controls completed a battery of questionnaires related to psychosocial well-being, after which they participated in a diagnostic Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Axis I Disorders.
RESULTS: Patients with awareness did not seem to differ from their matched controls in subsequent psychosocial outcome, psychiatric morbidity, or quality of life.
CONCLUSIONS: We found no indication that intraoperative awareness with recall had any deleterious long-term effects on patients’ psychosocial outcome.