CPCP: PTSD in ICU Survivors by Dr. Victoria Linares

Dr. Victoria Linares, MD

Dr. Victoria Linares, MD

The outstanding Clinical Problems in Consultation Psychiatry (CPCP) presentations are coming thick and fast, so much I can hardly keep up with them! This one is on Postraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in intensive care unit (ICU) survivors by Dr. Victoria Linares, MD, a Family Medicine resident who is rotating on the psychiatry consult service this month (and doing a bang-up job).

Delirium in Critical CareRight away you notice that the title slide shows a picture of Vanderbilt University ICU delirium researcher and intensivist clinician, Dr. E. Wesley Ely, who literally wrote the book on ICU delirium, along with Dr. Valerie Page. Learn more about the ICU Delirium group’s research here.

Slide 10 has a riveting YouTube video featuring Anthony Russo, an ICU survivor who recounts his terrifying delirium. It’s below for easy viewing and see the slide for instructions on how to navigate through the salient parts of the video:

I’m struck by how little we know about PTSD in these survivors, how strong they are–and how much they need us to help them recover from this unimaginable storm.

In order to see the picture galleries of photos or powerpoint slides, click on one of the slides, which will open up the presentation to fill the screen. Use the arrow buttons to scroll left and right through the slides or up and down to view any annotations.



  1. parentsfriend says:

    Pinned this. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/147141112801146811/

    Please see if one of your students is willing to look at the trauma reactions of asthmatics. Particularly children. I saw many symptoms in some of the asthmatic children we treated in my clinic, but could never get the psychiatrist to take my suggestion that trauma was a problem. I still think it is. Nothing is more terrifying than not being able to breathe. Not only is the asthmatic child traumatized, but the entire family.

    As always thank you for all you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for alerting me to this issue, Kathy. In fact, I just did a quick search at PubMed and it’s not hard at all to find papers about asthma and PTSD. Just one example is below:

      Chung, M. C., et al. (2012). “Posttraumatic stress disorder following asthma attack (post-asthma attack PTSD) and psychiatric co-morbidity: The impact of alexithymia and coping.” Psychiatry Research 197(3): 246-252.
      This study investigated the prevalence of post-asthma attack posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the severity of psychiatric co-morbidity among a group of college students and whether alexithymia and coping strategies would relate to health outcomes. This is a cross-sectional study in which 156 college students who had previously experienced asthma attack were recruited. They completed a demographic page, Asthma Symptom Checklist, PTSD Checklist, General Health Questionnaire-28, Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the COPE. They were also matched with 141 students without asthma. The results showed that 3% met the criteria for full-PTSD, 44% for partial and 53% for no-PTSD. There were no significant differences between the asthma and control groups in severity of psychiatric co-morbid symptoms. Path analyses showed that asthma severity was significantly correlated with PTSD and psychiatric co-morbidity. It was also correlated with alexithymia which was in turn associated with psychiatric co-morbidity but not PTSD. Coping strategies were not correlated with health outcomes. To conclude, people can develop PTSD symptoms and degrees of psychiatric co-morbid symptoms after suffering asthma attack. The severity of these symptoms relates to people’s perceptions of asthma severity and alexithymia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • parentsfriend says:

        Thank you for this. Now if only the therapists and doctors I worked with had believed in Life Long Learning and had read this article. I confess I came to it from the school of personal experience trying to help children with asthma. Will spread this around.


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