Variceal haemorrhage and post-traumatic stress disorder



O'Carroll R, Masterton G, Gooday R, Cossar J, Couston M & Hayes PC (1999) Variceal haemorrhage and post-traumatic stress disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38 (2), pp. 203-208.

Objective. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is thought to be relatively common following extremely distressing life-threatening events. Patients with liver cirrhosis can experience severe brisk variceal haemorrhage during which they vomit litres of blood and may exsanguinate. We predicted that a significant proportion of survivors would suffer from PTSD.Design. PTSD assessment of 30 patients who had a haematemesis of more than four units of blood secondary to variceal bleeding and were fully conscious at the time of the bleed.Method. Structured Clinical Diagnostic Interview (SCID-DSM-III-R) and self-report measures.Results. Most found the experience distressing, but only 1 out of 30 patients fulfilled DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Conclusion. PTSD in a sample of patients who survived life-threatening variceal haemorrhage is much rarer than might reasonably have been anticipated. Possible reasons for this low prevalence of PTSD are discussed.

British Journal of Clinical Psychology: Volume 38, Issue 2

Publication date30/06/1999

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Professor Ronan O'Carroll
Professor Ronan O'Carroll

Professor, Psychology

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