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Long-term data on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following
accidents are scarce.
To assess and predict PTSD in people 3 years after severe accidental
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.
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.
The prevalence of PTSD was low over the whole period of 3 years.
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