A new study suggests patients treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) and survive are prone to depression. Furthermore, depression in ICU survivors was connected with a higher risk of death in the next two years, researchers found.
According to the study published in Critical Care, over half of former ICU patients reported signs of psychological disorders, along with anxiety, depression and PTSD.
The study’s lead author Robert Hatch, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Intensive Care Medicine and Honorary Clinical Research Associate at the University of Oxford said “Psychological problems – anxiety, depression, PTSD – after being treated for a critical illness in the ICU are very common and often complex when they occur, “Patients who reported symptoms of depression were 47 percent more likely to die from any cause during the first two years after discharge from the ICU than those who did not report these symptoms.”
Hatch and his teammates studied 4,943 ICU patients who had spent at least 24 hours in one of 26 ICUs in the UK between 2006 and 2013. They were asked to fill out questionnaires at three and 12 months following discharge from intensive care.
The questionnaires investigated for signs and symptoms of psychological disorders. When the responses were analyzed, the researchers found that 46 percent of the patients were undepatients had symptoms of more than one disorder. As a matter of fact, 18 percent of the pargoing symptoms constant with a diagnosis of anxiety, 40 percent reported depression symptoms, and 22 percent reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Often, tients met the benchmark for all free psychological conditions.
Patients who reported symptoms persistent with a diagnosis of depression were 47 percent likely to die from any cause during the first two years after release from the ICU than those who did not report these symptoms. Swollen risk of death was not associated with symptoms of anxiety or PTSD.
Hatch said in an email The reason detecting and recognizing psychological problems is so important, is that they are a major cause of poor quality of life following critical illness and they are potentially treatable, “Our findings suggest that depression following care of a critical illness in the ICU may be a marker of declining health and clinicians should consider this when following up with former ICU patients.”
Dr. John Bienvenu, an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medicine, was urprised at the new findings.
Bienvenu said“We knew that symptoms of depression were associated with a worse quality of life after a critical illness, “But this shows that they are also associated with mortality. I was struck by the fact that they were 47 percent more likely to die.”
Bienvenu said that same study in the U.S. would most likely find similar results.
Bienvenu said,While the study doesn’t explain why depression might shorten life, there are studies in other areas of medicine that might help shed light on the subject, “In patients with diabetes and heart disease, depression doesn’t just affect how they feel, it affects their behavior,”
He explained. “From the diabetes literature we know that depressed patients are often not taking as good care of themselves: they don’t take their medications and they miss appointments with their doctors.”
Bienvenu said.The solution may be better monitoring of patients after they leave the ICU, “At Hopkins we’ve been talking about doing a better job of screening patients for psychological symptoms after they’ve been treated and released from the ICU,” he added. “Then we can get treatment for all of those who screen positive.”