Reevaluating the association between emergency department heart rate and the development of posttraumatic stress disorder: A public health approach

Douglas F. Zatzick, Joan Russo, Roger K. Pitman, Frederick Rivara, Gregory Jurkovich, Peter Roy-Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Preliminary investigations in select samples of trauma survivors presenting to acute care settings suggest an association between elevated emergency department heart rate (HR) and the subsequent development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other studies suggest no association, however. In a prospective cohort study of a population-based sample of 161 acutely injured surgical inpatients, HR was assessed at initial presentation to the emergency department. Symptoms of PTSD were assessed with the PTSD Checklist at the time of the surgical inpatient hospitalization and 1, 4-6, and 12 months postinjury. Emergency department HR ≥ 95 beats per minute (BPM) was a significant independent predictor of PTSD symptoms in analyses that adjusted for relevant injury, clinical, and demographic characteristics. This HR cutoff demonstrated modest specificity (range 60%-65%) and sensitivity (range 49%-63%) for the prediction of chronic PTSD. We found an independent association between elevated emergency department HR ≥ 95 BPM and PTSD symptoms in a representative sample of injured acute care inpatients. Future investigations that incorporate clinical epidemiologic methods in the study of acute care biological parameters have the potential to improve the quality of mental health care delivered to injured survivors of individual and mass trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acute care
  • disaster mental health
  • heart rate
  • PTSD
  • screening
  • traumatic injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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