June 1, 2016 – Depression and the ICU


Anchor lead: Depression and other mental health issues often follow an ICU stay, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Depression and other mental health issues are extremely common in those who’ve survived a stay in the intensive care unit, a study led by Dale Needham, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues has found.

Needham: What we did was a national study of almost 700 patients in which we evaluated them at 6 and 12 months after a disease called acute respiratory distress syndrome. And we found that during the first 12 month follow up two-thirds of the survivors had substantial symptoms of at least one of anxiety, depression or PTSD. The prevalence of these syndromes was almost the same at six months and at twelve months, so patients weren’t getting better over time.   :31

Needham says the most common combination of mental health issues was all three, suggesting that some sort of screening when people are discharged from the ICU as well as longer term follow up to assess mental health would be beneficial.  He notes that primary care providers are the most likely to be able to provide screening.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.