Psychiatric adjustment following meningococcal disease treated on a PICU

Intensive Care Med. 2002 May;28(5):648-50. doi: 10.1007/s00134-002-1237-2. Epub 2002 Mar 27.


Objective: To describe the psychiatric status of child survivors of meningococcal disease and their mothers.

Design and setting: Home interviews with 3-12 month follow-up.PATIENTS. 29 children aged 2-15 years admitted to a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with meningococcal disease.

Measurements and results: Questionnaires to assess psychiatric risk in children and parents. We found an overall risk for child psychiatric disorder in 20%. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were present in 62% of children, and 10% had the features of a stress disorder. In 40% of mothers there was an increased risk for psychiatric disorder, 48% experienced clinically significant PTSD symptoms, and 29% were seeking psychological help. Maternal stress symptoms were significantly associated with severity of their child's illness.

Conclusions: A significant proportion of children surviving meningococcal disease and their parents are likely to suffer psychological stress symptoms to a degree that warrants attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Meningococcal Infections / complications
  • Meningococcal Infections / psychology*
  • Meningococcal Infections / therapy
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology