Published on 20 October 2009, 16:14 Last Update: 17 hour(s) ago by Insciences
“This is the first time that PTSD, a psychiatric diagnosis, has been shown as a risk factor for increased mortality after surgery,”
A study conducted by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco offers evidence that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder have a significantly lower survival rate one year after surgery than veterans without the diagnosis, even though the veterans with PTSD were seven years younger on average.
In the study of 1,792 male veterans who underwent an elective major surgery requiring hospital admission, PTSD emerged as a significant risk factor for one-year post-operative mortality, even after the authors adjusted for age and for pre-existing medical conditions that are known to increase the chances of death after surgery.
The results of the study were presented by lead author Marek Brzezinski, MD, PhD, a staff physician at SFVAMC, at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in New Orleans. “This is the first time that PTSD, a psychiatric diagnosis, has been shown as a risk factor for increased mortality after surgery,” said Brzezinski, who is also an assistant professor of anesthesia and perioperative care at UCSF.
In analyzing the data, which was gleaned from the electronic patient-record database at SFVAMC, the researchers also found that a PTSD diagnosis was associated with significantly higher prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and alcohol abuse – all of which are known to increase the risk of death after surgery. It also was associated with other known risk factors for post-operative mortality, including diabetes, depression, and drug abuse.
“Nonetheless, even after controlling for these comorbidities, PTSD emerged as a significant independent risk factor,” noted Brzezinski. “The effect of PTSD on post-operative mortality was at least as large as, if not larger than, diabetes, a well-known risk factor, which was surprising.”
(click here for complete story:)