Surgical procedures and pediatric medical traumatic stress (PMTS) syndrome: Assessment and future directions

Amichai Ben Ari, Tuvia Peri, Daniella Margalit, Esti Galili-Weisstub, Raphael Udassin, Fortu Benarroch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Surgical procedures involve traumatic stress. Children may develop chronic psychological distress and dysfunction after surgery, with consequent reluctance to comply with medical follow-up care. A literature review of this topic shows that it has been understudied. Our study aims to assess the frequency and characteristics of symptoms of persistent psychological distress in children following surgery, which have not been documented before, in order to promote its awareness and its early identification. Methods: Parents of 79 children (aged 1–6) that were hospitalized in a pediatric surgical ward, comprising a representative sample, completed three validated questionnaires assessing their children's psychological symptoms 3–5 months after the hospitalization. Results: A significant portion of children suffer from psychological distress 3–5 months after hospitalization. Moreover, 10.39% of the children exhibited symptoms of PTSD, and 28.6% of parents reported that the child's distress causes dysfunction. Additionally, our findings emphasize the parents’ concerns regarding the child's behavior, function, and health following hospitalization. Conclusion: Since a significant prevalence of hospitalization-related traumatic stress is documented, the awareness to it has to be improved, in order to reduce its frequency and increase adherence to medical follow-up care. Type of study: Prognosis study. Level of evidence: 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1526-1531
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • PTSD
  • Pediatric medical traumatic stress (PMTS)
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Risk factors
  • Screening

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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