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Depression, Functional Disability Affect One Third of ICU Survivors — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 7, 2014

Depression, Functional Disability Affect One Third of ICU Survivors

By Amy Orciari Herman

Patients who survive intensive care have high rates of depression and functional disability in the following year, a Lancet Respiratory Medicine study finds.

Researchers enrolled some 820 adults admitted to ICUs with respiratory failure, cardiogenic shock, or septic shock. Mental health and functional ability were assessed at 3 and 12 months after discharge. Among the findings:

  • Roughly one third of survivors had depressive symptoms or impairment in activities of daily living.

  • Depression was five times more common than post-traumatic stress disorder — a finding that "challenge[s] conventional thinking," the researchers say.

  • Mental health and functional complaints affected patients of all ages.

The authors and commentators emphasize that somatic symptoms (e.g., loss of appetite), rather than cognitive-affective complaints, accounted for most depression. This finding, the authors write, "has implications for the roles of physical rehabilitation versus antidepressant medications in the prevention and management of depression after ICU admission."

Reader Comments (1)

Thalia Segal, MD Physician, Anesthesiology

I enjoy the variety of papers covered

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