THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Firearm injury seems to have a lasting effect, with survivors of gunshot wounds (GSW) having negative outcomes for years, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in JAMA Surgery.

Michael A. Vella, M.D., from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (currently affiliated with the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York), and colleagues assessed patient-reported outcomes in a sample of 183 GSW survivors from 2008 through 2017. Scores on eight Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) instruments and the Primary Care Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Screen were included as outcome measures.

The researchers observed a 13.2 percent increase in combined alcohol and substance use, from 30.8 percent pre-GSW to 44.0 percent post-GSW. The mean scores for Global Physical Health, Global Mental Health, and Physical Function PROMIS metrics were below population norms. Of the participants, 48.6 percent had a positive screen for probable PTSD. Worse mean Physical Function scores were seen for patients who required intensive care unit admission versus those not requiring the intensive care unit. Greater risk for PTSD was seen for survivors with no more than five years since injury (60.3 versus 42.9 percent), but they had better mean Global Physical Health scores than those with more than five years since injury.

“Our results suggest a role for the initiation of long-term longitudinal care to improve physical, mental, and emotional recovery after firearm injury,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biomedical industry; a second author disclosed ties to the publishing industry.

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