Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Veterans with PTSD twice as likely to die after surgery

(photo of a soldier with his daughter)
Dr Marek Brzezinski from San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Centre who is the leading author of the first study to examine the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on mortality after surgery shows that veterans with PTSD are twice as likely to die following surgery as their counterparts without PTSD. The researchers found a 25% increase in one year mortality, even if surgery occured years after the patients completed military service. PTSD is thought to be independent risk factor even after taking into consideration the patient's age and other pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and depression.
In medical profession malicious persecution through complaints and disciplinary procedures can lead to PTSD. Psychiatrists and surgeons receive most complaints according to one UK study. In addition, complaints and disciplinary actions are difficult for all doctors: a Finnish study found that medical surveillance often preceded the suicide of its female doctors (Lindeman et al, 1997).
Dr Bzezinski et al. research has been hailed as ground braking and it could have implications in legal settlements outside military.
There was increased incidence of post-operative delirium and respiratory failure in those with PTSD. It is also remarkable that that these patients with PTSD presented for surgery years earlier, and were sicker. Coauthors are : Dr Charles Marmar, Dr Brian Cason, Selwyn Au, MS and Dr Arthur Wallace.

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