A Healthier Wisconsin

A Pilot Trauma Resuscitation Intervention to Reduce Perceived Life Threat

Reducing the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder in patients through assurance of safety

Full Project Name:A Pilot Trauma Resuscitation Intervention to Reduce Perceived Life ThreatPrincipal Investigator:Mary Schroeder, MD, SurgeryCo-Investigator:Terri deRoon-Cassini, PhD, MS, Surgery; David Milia, MD, Surgery; Kathleen Williams, MD, Emergency MedicineAward Amount:$49,462
Award Date
Project Duration:12 months

Project Description Narrative:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects approximately 25% of trauma patients and is increasingly recognized as a cause of morbidity post-injury. Significant efforts have been dedicated to determining who is at the highest risk for PTSD and creating treatment strategies. Yet, there are currently no interventions aimed at prevention.

Research has shown a patient’s perceived threat to life is associated with an increased risk of developing PTSD, and there is a dose dependence to this risk. In other words, the longer a patient perceives that his or her life is threatened, the higher their risk of developing PTSD.

A diagnosis of PTSD cannot be made until 30 days post-trauma, at which time most patients have left the hospital, and approximately one-third of trauma patients do not return for follow-up care. As a result, many patients’ PTSD goes undiagnosed and untreated.

The current standard of care in trauma evaluation in emergency departments does not acknowledge the post-trauma psychological injury that patients present with. In the earnest attempt to save lives, that psychological injury can be exacerbated.

This study aims to address both the psychological trauma related to the injury and the potential retraumatization of trauma resuscitation through the implementation of an assurance of safety intervention at the beginning of the resuscitation process.

Results from this study will immediately inform the way care is provided to injured patients in southeastern Wisconsin. The research team will also present findings to the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, who oversee the standardized curriculum for advanced trauma life support with the goal of changing with way care is provided across the country. Future studies could then introduce the assurance of safety intervention to pre-hospital providers with the goal of further decreasing the duration of patients’ perceived life threat and ultimately reducing their risk for non-remitting PTSD.

AHW Logo

8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-4350