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 Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>