Implementation of a screening program for patients at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder

Carmen R. Roberts, Joanie E. Wofford, Haley M. Hoy, Mitchell N. Faddis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) recipients who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are known to be associated with significant cardiac-specific mortality. Clinical observations suggest that PTSD is frequently undetected in ICD recipients followed up at electrophysiology (EP) outpatient clinics. Early recognition of PTSD is important to reduce the risk of serious manifestations on patient outcomes.Methods: All ICD recipients aged 19 years or older at the Washington University School of Medicine (WASHU) EP clinic, a large urban EP clinic, were invited to participate in the project. An informed consent letter with an attached primary care: posttraumatic stress disorder (PC: PTSD) survey was offered to the participants who met the inclusion criteria. Those who completed the survey were included in the project. Individuals with positive survey result were offered a referral to mental health services. Comparisons between PTSD and non-PTSD patients were done using a two-sample t-test for continuous variables. Using Fisher’s exact test, PTSD prevalence was compared to the study by Ladwig et al in which prevalence was determined as the proportion of patients with positive findings of PTSD (n = 38/147). All analyses were conducted using SAS v9.4. The proportion of patients having PTSD was determined and an exact 95% confidence interval was evaluated based on the binomial distribution. Results: Using a convenience sample, 50 ICD recipients (33 males and 17 females) were enrolled. The project had a 30-day outcome period. Nine (18%) of the 50 participants had positive PC: PTSD findings and all these nine participants were referred to a mental health specialist. The current project demon-strated an 18% (9/50) PTSD prevalence rate when compared to a 26% (38/147) prevalence rate in the study by Ladwig et al (P = 0.34). Although this project did not demonstrate 20% PTSD prevalence rate, as hypothesized, the 18% PTSD prevalence rate is consistent with previous research. Conclusion: The prevalence of PTSD noted in the current project is consistent with previous research and validates underrecognition of PTSD in ICD patients. Offering a referral to all ICD recipients at EP clinic visits with a positive PC: PTSD screening to a mental health specialist is an important step in reducing the risk of serious manifestations on patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Medicine Insights: Cardiology
StatePublished - Aug 8 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Defibrillator
  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Evaluation
  • ICD
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
  • Nursing
  • PTSD
  • Patient outcomes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological distress
  • Psychosocial impact
  • QL
  • QoL
  • Quality of life
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • SCA
  • SCD
  • Sudden cardiac arrest
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Support group


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