Effect of elective surgery on subjective health in veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common, is often chronic, and has been associated with greater risk of postoperative mortality in veterans. The purpose of this study was to determine if elective outpatient surgery had a persistent effect on the physical or mental health of veterans with chronic PTSD. A longitudinal, quasi-experimental study was conducted that followed up 60 veterans with chronic PTSD over 12 weeks. Self-reported physical and mental health, depressive symptom severity, and posttraumatic symptom severity were measured in 29 veterans undergoing outpatient elective surgery and 31 veterans not having elective surgery (controls). Data collection was performed at baseline and repeated 1, 4, and 12 weeks after surgery or enrollment. At baseline, both surgical and control subjects reported poor physical and mental subjective health status. After surgery, surgical group subjects reported mean age- and gender-adjusted reductions of 3.9 points on the Physical Component Summary score and 2.9 points on the Mental Component Summary score of the Veterans Rand 36-item Health Survey, which resolved by 4 weeks after surgery. These findings suggest that veterans with PTSD were at greater risk of mortality because of poor baseline health, but did not demonstrate persistent decline in health following common elective surgical procedures.
Wofford, K; Hertzberg, M; Silva, S; Vacchiano, C
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