Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Patients After Severe COVID-19 Infection | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Psychiatry | JAMA Network
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    1 Comment for this article
    PTSD More Rare than Expected
    Thomas Caffrey, Ph.D. Psychology | Private Practice
    Research indicates repeatedly that chronic PTSD, that is, PTSD that lasts more than 6 months or a year, results in only 10 or 15% of those who sustain Criterion A (the traumatic event). Hence, the high, 30% rate found in the Rome study, as noted in the study, is a finding during the first at most 4 months (120 days); that is, the early phase PTSD, and the phase that typically decreases, by half of more in this instance.
    Thomas Caffrey, Ph.D.
    New York, NY
    Research Letter
    February 18, 2021

    Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Patients After Severe COVID-19 Infection

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Department of Psychiatry, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy
    • 2Department of Geriatrics, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy
    JAMA Psychiatry. 2021;78(5):567-569. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.0109

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur in individuals who have experienced a traumatic event. Previous coronavirus epidemics were associated with PTSD diagnoses in postillness stages, with meta-analytic findings indicating a prevalence of 32.2% (95% CI, 23.7-42.0).1 However, information after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is piecemeal. We aimed at filling this gap by studying a group of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who sought treatment at the emergency department, most of whom required hospitalization, eventually recovered, and were subsequently referred to a postacute care service for multidisciplinary assessment.

    A total of 381 consecutive patients who presented to the emergency department with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered from COVID-19 infection were referred for a postrecovery health check to a postacute care service established April 21, 2020, at the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS in Rome, Italy. Patients were offered a comprehensive and interdisciplinary medical and psychiatric assessment, detailed elsewhere,2 which included data on demographic, clinical, psychopathological, and COVID-19 characteristics. Trained psychiatrists diagnosed PTSD using the criterion-standard Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), reaching a Cohen κ interrater reliability of 0.82. To meet PTSD criteria, in addition to traumatic event exposure (criterion A), patients must have had at least 1 DSM-5 criterion B and C symptom and at least 2 criterion D and E symptoms. Criteria F and G must have been met as well. Additional diagnoses were made through the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5. Participants provided written informed consent, and the study was approved by the Università Cattolica and Fondazione Policlinico Gemelli IRCCS Institutional Ethics Committee.