New research suggests as much as a third of patients experience depression symptoms after leaving the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. In some cases, the symptoms may continue more than a year later. The study, published in the journal Critical Care Medicine, also identifies a lack of effective post-ICU interventions for such psychiatric developments.
Survivors of health conditions requiring intensive care within a hospital face a number of continuing threats to their well-being after discharge from the unit. Relapse of the initial condition, sleep problems or disturbances, fatigue, and chronic pain are just a few of the physical symptoms that may persist. Mental health is also vulnerable to post-ICU complications. The new research may help to clarify the risks associated with developing depression.
Post-ICU Risk of Depression
Researchers used an investigative framework known as meta-analysis for this study. It involves performing a new statistical analysis on a collection of data taken from existing studies of the topic. They identified 42 unique studies that met the required criteria. The selected research included a total of 4,113 patients.mental health condition before or during their ICU visits.
Complications of Depression During Recovery
The development of depression can be a serious threat to postoperative patients. In a recent article published in the journal BMC Surgery, the authors review situations in which depression may impair recovery. Suppression of the immune system is a symptom of depression that can lead to postoperative infections, cancer relapse, and other problems. Cognitive impairment, pain, and postoperative delirium are also associated with depression following surgery.
Patients leaving intensive care are at a high risk of developing long-term depression. Given that the condition is associated with serious complications in the recovery process, researchers say it is critical that effective interventions are developed and implemented to minimize the potential for prolonged suffering.
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- Ghoneim, M. M., & O’Hara, M. W. (2016). Depression and postoperative complications: an overview. BMC Surgery, 16(1), 1. Retrieved from https://bmcsurg.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12893-016-0120-y
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2016, August 15). Study finds one in three former ICU patients shows symptoms of depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160815111427.htm
- Rabiee, A., Nikayin, S., Hashem, M. D., Huang, M., Dinglas, V. D., Bienvenu, O. J., … & Needham, D. M. (2016). Depressive symptoms after critical illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Critical Care Medicine, 44(9), 1744-1753. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/27153046
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