PTSD and subarachnoid hemorrhage equal difficulty in recovery
Nearly a third of patients that have suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage have PTSD. As such, the findings of a study published this past December by Thomas Schenk, Ph.D. of Durham University’s Wolfson Research Institute, are of great importance. According to the study’s findings, published in the journal Neurosurgery, patients with PTSD who have suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage experience greater difficulty both physically and mentally with their recovery. At three months and 13 months patients with PTSD who suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage experienced impaired mental quality of life; at 13 months this same group was found to have a lessened physical quality of life. According to the authors of the study, “these findings suggest that the frequent occurrence of PTSD after subarachnoid hemorrhage is partly to blame for the surprisingly low quality of life found in many subarachnoid hemorrhage patients who in other respects make a good recovery.” The researchers went on to say that teaching patients coping skills to deal with PTSD early on could help to reduce deficits in recovery in this population. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
To explore the issue, researchers examined 105 patients (mean age 53) who had sustained a subarachnoid hemorrhage. At three and 13 months post-ictus, they were evaluated for TTSD, fatigue, sleep problems, cognitive and physical outcomes, and quality of life.
The researchers also recruited 87 healthy controls for fatigue and sleep comparisons.
At both evaluations, 37.1% of the patients had PTSD, with a median symptom severity of moderate to severe. This rate is about four-fold higher than in the general population and comparable to the prevalence among soldiers returning from war, according to the researchers.
Compared with published reference values, quality of life was significantly reduced across all domains at three months (P<0.006), and across all domains except for physical functioning, general health, and emotional role limitations at 13 months (P<0.05).
Fatigue was significantly higher among hemorrhage patients in both assessments (P<0.008 for both). The majority of hemorrhage patients (59%) had pathological fatigue at the first assessment — a higher rate than cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the researchers said.