Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unpleasant memories from intensive care

19.09.2006
"Being cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU) can never be an especially positive experience. But at any rate it should not mean that the care improves the patient's physical condition only to leave him or her with severe mental problems!" This is what Karin Samuelson feels.She is a nurse and researcher at Lund University in Sweden. She has studied patients' memories, experiences, and psychological problems after their care period.

Intensivecare often involves treatment in a respirator, with the air being supplied either via a tube in the nose or mouth or via a cannula through the throat.To alleviate the discomfort of the treatment, patients are given sedatives or drugs to induce sleep.

In the past powerful sedatives were used, rendering the patient more or less unconscious. But this can lead to complications in the form of mucus accumulation, pneumonia, muscle atrophy, and prolonged respirator dependency.What's more such treatment is expensive. Therefore most wards have switched to lighter sedation, which is easier on the body.

However, the effects on the mental well-being of the patient have never been studied. This is what Karin Samuelson has now done in her doctoral dissertation, which she will defend September 22. She interviewed 250 patients five days after their release from the ICU and again two months later.

The results were hardly encouraging. Most of the patients had memories of their time in intensive care, despite the sedation, and more than half of them remembered at least one event that was extremely stressful. These stressful experiences included discomfort from the breathing tube and not being able to speak. One third of the patients also had delusional memories such as nightmares and hallucinations.

Two months after their discharge there was still a high degree of symptoms of anxiety in 5 percent of the patients, of depression in 8 percent, and of post-traumatic stress in 8 percent.

"The risk of remembering nightmares and hallucinations was more closely related to the length of the stay in intensive care than to the depth of sedation. On the other hand, the risk of remembering the experiences as bothering were associated with the depth of sedation: patients more awake experienced memories as more stressful. We must therefore focus on patients' subjective perceptions and get better at dealing with the psychological problems that critical illness and intensive care can lead to," says Karin Samuelson.

Among other things, this requires better following up of ICU patients. The Lund University Hospital staff has started to visit patients at the general wards a few days after ICU discharge and also to invite them back for a visit after two months. In this way it is hoped that they will be able to single out patients who have been the most seriously affected by their critical illness and their stay in the ICU and see to it that their experience there does not led to persistent mental disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress.

Her dissertation is titled Sedation During Mechanical Ventilation in Intensive Care - sedation practices and patients' memory, stressful experiences and psychological distress.

Karin Samuelson can be reached at phone: +45 2680 1379 or e-mail: karin.samuelson@med.lu.se

Ingela Björck | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>