To examine the frequency of acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder in chronically critically ill patients with a specific focus on severe sepsis, to classify different courses of stress disorders from 4 weeks to 6 months after transfer from acute care hospital to postacute rehabilitation, and to identify patients at risk by examining the relationship between clinical, demographic, and psychological variables and stress disorder symptoms.
Prospective longitudinal cohort study, three assessment times within 4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after transfer to postacute rehabilitation.
Patients were consecutively enrolled in a large rehabilitation hospital (Clinic Bavaria, Kreischa, Germany) admitted for ventilator weaning from acute care hospitals.
We included 90 patients with admission diagnosis critical illness polyneuropathy or critical illness myopathy with or without severe sepsis, age between 18 and 70 years with a length of ICU stay greater than 5 days.
Acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder were diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, criteria by a trained and experienced clinical psychologist using a semistructured clinical interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. We further administered the Acute Stress Disorder Scale and the Posttraumatic Symptom Scale-10 to assess symptoms of acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Three percent of the patients had an acute stress disorder diagnosis 4 weeks after transfer to postacute rehabilitation. Posttraumatic stress disorder was found in 7% of the patients at 3-month follow-up and in 12% after 6 months, respectively. Eighteen percent of the patients showed a delayed onset of posttraumatic stress disorder. Sepsis turned out to be a significant predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms at 3-month follow-up.
A regular screening of post-ICU patients after discharge from hospital should be an integral part of aftercare management. The underlying mechanisms of severe sepsis in the development of posttraumatic stress disorder need further examination.
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1Institute of Psychosocial Medicine and Psychotherapy, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany.
2Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Dresden University of Technology, Medical School, Dresden, Germany.
3Center for Sepsis Control and Care, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany.
4Center for Clinical Studies, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany.
5Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany.
6Department of Early Rehabilitation, Klinik Bavaria, Kreischa, Germany.
This work was performed at Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany.
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Dr. Wintermann received support for article research from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant 01EO1002). The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.
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