PTSD associated with more, longer hospitalizations

Mar 27, 2008

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have found post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with more hospitalizations, longer hospitalizations and greater mental healthcare utilization in urban primary care patients. These findings appear in the current issue of Medical Care.

Prior studies suggest that trauma exposure and PTSD have considerable impact on health care use and costs. Most of this research, however, has focused on male veterans and female sexual assault victims but the impact on healthcare use in other populations is uncertain.

The researchers interviewed a sample of primary care patients to examine overall prevalence of traumatic exposure and select behavioral health outcomes in addition to PTSD, including major depression, substance dependence and chronic pain. The interview included demographic questions, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (version 2.1 PTSD module), the Chronic Pain Definitional Questionnaire, the Patient Health Questionnaire (to measure depression) and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form (for drug and alcohol dependence).

Among the participants, the researchers found that 80 percent had one or more trauma exposures. Compared to participants with no trauma exposure, subjects exposed to trauma were significantly more likely to be males, unmarried, have substance dependence and depression. They also had more mental health visits than those with no trauma exposure.

Among the participants, 22 percent had current PTSD. Compared to participants without PTSD, those with PTSD were significantly more likely to be female, to have an annual income of less than or equal to $20,000, have substance dependence and depression. PTSD participants also had more hospitalizations and mental health visits.

According to the researchers, among urban primary care patients PTSD is associated with greater health care use: both mental health visits and hospitalizations. “Unexpectedly, trauma exposure by itself was not associated with increased healthcare utilization apart from mental health visits, a finding which was attenuated after adjusting for PTSD,” said lead author Anand Kartha, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at BUSM. “This may be due to the fact that the non-traumatized to whom we are comparing the traumatized patients, have complex social milieu leading to high utilization,” added Kartha.

“PTSD has a cost beyond the specific mental health symptoms,” said senior author Jane Liebschutz, MD, an associate professor of medicine and social and behavioral sciences at BUSM and a primary care physician at BMC. “PTSD may be on the causal pathway between trauma experiences and negative health consequences. These findings are relevant in light of the PTSD prevalence not only in our returning veterans, but in areas of urban poor,” she added.

Source: Boston University

Explore further: Improve peer review by making the reviewers better suited to the task

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Guns aren't the only things killing cops

Apr 11, 2014

The public does not realize—in fact, police themselves may not realize—that the dangers police officers are exposed to on a daily basis are far worse than anything on "Law and Order."

Hippocampus smaller in veterans not recovered from PTSD

Mar 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The hippocampus, a brain area associated with memory and stress, was about six percent smaller on average in veterans with current chronic PTSD than in veterans who had recovered from PTSD, in a study conducted ...

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

15 hours ago

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

17 hours ago

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments : 0