Physical comorbidities of post-traumatic stress disorder in Australian Vietnam War veterans

2017 The Medical Journal of Australia 206;6 (251-257)

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the prevalence of physical comorbidities in Australian Vietnam War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher than in trauma-exposed veterans without PTSD. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional analysis of the health status (based on self-reported and objective clinical assessments) of 298 Australian Vietnam War veterans enrolled by the Gallipoli Medical Research Institute (Brisbane) during February 2014 - July 2015, of whom 108 were confirmed as having had PTSD and 106 served as trauma-exposed control participants.Main outcomes and measures: Diagnostic psychiatric interview and psychological assessments determined PTSD status, trauma exposure, and comorbid psychological symptoms. Demographic data, and medical and sleep history were collected; comprehensive clinical examination, electrocardiography, spirometry, liver transient elastography, and selected pathology assessments and diagnostic imaging were performed. Outcomes associated with PTSD were identified; regression analysis excluded the effects of potentially confounding demographic and risk factors and comorbid symptoms of depression and anxiety. RESULTS: The mean total number of comorbidities was higher among those with PTSD (17.7; SD, 6.1) than in trauma-exposed controls (14.1; SD, 5.2; P