In ICU state anxiety is not associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms over six months after ICU discharge: A prospective study

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Castillo, Maria I
Cooke, Marie L
Macfarlane, Bonnie
Aitken, Leanne M
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Background: Posttraumatic stress symptoms are common after intensive care treatment. The influence of anxiety during critical illness on the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms needs to be investigated. Objective: To determine the association between anxiety during critical illness (state and trait components) and posttraumatic stress symptoms over six months after ICU discharge. Methods: Prospective study including 141 patients admitted ≥24 h to a closed mixed adult ICU in a tertiary hospital. State anxiety was assessed with the Faces Anxiety Scale during ICU stay. Trait anxiety was measured with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y-2. Posttraumatic stress symptoms were measured at three and six months after ICU discharge using the Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms 10- Question Inventory. Clinical and demographical data were also collected. Mixed effect regression models were used to determine if state and trait anxiety were factors significantly associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms over time. Results: Moderate to severe levels of state anxiety in ICU were reported by 81 (57%) participants. Levels of trait anxiety (median 36 IQR: 29–47) were similar to the Australian population. High levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms occurred atthree (n = 19, 19%) and six months (n = 15, 17%). Factors independently associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms were trait anxiety (2.2; 95% CI, 0.3–4.1; p = 0.02), symptoms of anxiety after ICU discharge (0.6; 95% CI, 0.2–1.1; p = 0.005), younger age (−1.4; 95% CI, −2.6 to −0.2; p = 0.02) and evidence of mental health treatment prior to the ICU admission (5.2; 95% CI, 1.5–8.9; p = 0.006). Conclusions: Posttraumatic stress symptoms occurred in a significant proportion of ICU survivors and were significantly associated with higher levels of trait anxiety, younger age, mental health treatment prior to the ICU admission and more symptoms of anxiety after ICU discharge. Early assessment and interventions directed to reduce state and trait anxiety in ICU survivors may be of benefit

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Australian Critical Care

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© 2015 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

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