Background: Survivors of acute lung injury (ALI) and other critical illnesses often experience substantial posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, most questionnaires have not been validated against a PTSD diagnostic reference standard in this patient population. Hence, in the current study of survivors of ALI, we evaluated the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R), a questionnaire measure of PTSD symptoms, against the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the current state-of-the-art PTSD diagnostic reference standard, which also provides a quantitative assessment of PTSD symptoms.
Methods: We evaluated the IES-R questionnaire vs the CAPS diagnostic interview in 60 of 77 consecutively recruited survivors of ALI from two prospective cohort studies of patients 1 to 5 years after ALI.
Results: The IES-R total score (range: 0.0-3.2) and the CAPS total severity score (range: 0-70) were strongly related (Pearson r=0.80, Spearman ρ=0.69). Using CAPS data, eight of the 60 patients (13%) had PTSD at the time of assessment, and an additional eight patients had partial PTSD (total prevalence, 27%). In a receiver operating characteristics curve analysis with CAPS PTSD or partial PTSD as criterion variables, the area under the curve ranged from 95% (95% CI, 88%-100%) to 97% (95% CI, 92%-100%). At an IES-R threshold of 1.6, with the same criterion variables, sensitivities ranged from 80% to 100%, specificities 85% to 91%, positive predictive values 50% to 75%, negative predictive values 93% to 100%, positive likelihood ratios 6.5 to 9.0, negative likelihood ratios 0.0 to 0.2, and efficiencies 87% to 90%.
Conclusions: The IES-R appears to be an excellent brief PTSD symptom measure and screening tool in ALI survivors.