Patients' understanding and experience of trauma following a cerebrovascular accident
There is growing evidence to suggest that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in
a minority of people after an acute life-threatening illness such as myocardial infarction (MI),
cardiac arrest (CA), cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and haemorrhage. To date, there has
been no attempt to link these research findings with psychological models of PTSD. The
purpose of this literature review was to investigate whether Ehlers and Clark's cognitive
model (2000) is a useful framework for conceptual ising illness-related PTSD.
The introduction describes the search strategy used, the diagnostic criteria for PTSD and the
prevalence of illness-related PTSD. Ehlers and Clark's cognitive model of PTSD (2000) is
outlined and the rationale for using this particular model is explained. The relationships
between each component of the model are then discussed with regard to the illness-related
PTSD literature and the evidence to support the use of the cognitive model within a medical
population is critically evaluated throughout. Methodological limitations are discussed as they
arise, with common problems being discussed more fully at the end. A small modification to
the model is proposed, to account for the impact of medical symptoms on the PTSD
experience. Finally, the clinical implications of the review are discussed.