Post-traumatic stress disorder in an emergency department population one year after hurricane Katrina

Lisa D Mills, Trevor Mills, Marlow MacHt, Rachel Levitan, Annelies De Wulf, Natasha S. Afonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Hurricane Katrina resulted in a significant amount of injury, death, and destruction. Study Objectives: To determine the prevalence of, and risk factors for, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in an emergency department (ED) population, 1 year after hurricane Katrina. Methods: Survey data including the Primary Care PTSD (PC-PTSD) screening instrument, demographic data, and questions regarding health care needs and personal loss were collected and analyzed. Results: Seven hundred forty-seven subjects completed the survey. The PC-PTSD screen was positive in 38%. In the single variate analysis, there was a correlation with a positive PC-PTSD screen and the following: staying in New Orleans during the storm (odds ratio [OR] 1.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28-2.34), having material losses (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.03-2.60), experiencing the death of a loved one (OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.35-1.87), needing health care during the storm (OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.48-2.73), and not having health care needs met during the storm (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.26-3.18) or after returning to New Orleans (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.40-3.73). In the multivariate analysis, the death of a loved one (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.26-2.78), being in New Orleans during the storm (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.22-2.33), and seeking health care during the storm (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.22-2.35) were associated with positive PC-PTSD screens. Conclusions: There was a high prevalence of PTSD in this ED population surveyed 1 year after hurricane Katrina. By targeting high-risk patients, disaster relief teams may be able to reduce the impact of PTSD in similar populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

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Keywords

  • disaster response
  • hurricane Katrina
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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