Initial assessment of medical post-traumatic stress among patients with chronic esophageal diseases

Tiffany H. Taft*, Dustin A. Carlson, Sara H. Marchese, John E. Pandolfino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Diagnosis and management of chronic esophageal disease requires the use of potentially traumatic medical procedures, performed with or without sedation. Medical trauma and post-traumatic stress (PTS) are emerging as important considerations in patients with digestive illness. To date, no study assesses medical PTS from procedures in patients with esophageal disease. Methods: Adult patients with achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or functional esophageal disease at a university-based gastroenterology clinic completed: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), Gastroesophageal Disease Questionnaire, Brief Esophageal Dysphagia Questionnaire, Northwestern Esophageal Quality of Life scale (HRQoL), NIH-PROMIS Depression scale, and a study-specific questionnaire about esophageal procedures (endoscopy with sedation; functional lumen imaging probe (FLIP) with sedation; high-resolution manometry (HRM); wireless pH testing; or 24-h pH-impedance testing). Key Results: Half of 149 participants reported at least one traumatic procedure, with HRM most often cited. Only 2.7% met the cutoff for PTS on PCL-5. This increased to 7.1% for patients with a traumatic procedure combined with experiencing intense fear. Rates of moderate–severe PTS ranged from 7.4%–12% for all patients and 14%–29% for those with a traumatic procedure with fear. Medical PTS was associated with poorer HRQoL, and increased esophageal symptoms, depression, and hypervigilance and symptom anxiety. Conclusions & Inferences: Preliminary evidence suggests medical PTS affects few patients with esophageal disease. However traumatic procedures, most often associated with HRM, significantly increase PTS symptoms. The potential impacts of medical PTS on esophageal patient assessment and outcomes are considerable and warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14540
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • esophageal manometry
  • esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • esophagus
  • pH monitoring
  • post-traumatic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology


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