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No evidence of long-term PTSD risk in patients with awareness during surgery
Date:6/20/2014

sode of intraoperative awareness meet criteria for being a "potentially traumatic event" of the type leading to PTSD. Other measures of psychosocial well-being, including quality of life ratings, were also similar between groups. A few patients in each group had depression or other psychiatric disorders.

Ongoing Efforts Needed to Prevent Intraoperative Awareness Intraoperative awareness with recall is an uncommon but documented complication in patients undergoing general anesthesia. Previous studies have suggested that intraoperative awareness may place patients at risk for PTSD and other mental health conditions, such as depression or alcohol abuse. Because intraoperative awareness is rare, it is difficult to study the possible psychological after-effects.

Previous studies have reported high rates of PTSD after intraoperative awareness, but have had important limitations. For example, some studies have recruited patients through advertising, introducing a potential source of bias.

The new report is the longest follow-up study of patients with documented episodes of intraoperative awareness with recall. Dr Laukkala and coauthors note that the patients in their study received "appropriate psychosocial support and services" and explanations of their memories and symptomswhich may have lessened the long-term impact of the event.

The results suggest that intraoperative awareness doesn't necessarily increase the risk of PTSD and other mental health problems. The researchers write, "We emphasize that it is of utmost importance to try to prevent intraoperative awareness, and when recognized, potentially traumatized individuals should be offered support according to evidence-based guidelines."

While the findings are reassuring, they do not mean there's no risk of PTSD after an episode of intraoperative awareness, according to Drs Mashour and Avidan. In their editorial, they call for further studies to understand
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Contact: Brian Freiland
Brian.freiland@wolterskluwer.com
215-521-8372
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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