Thursday, 29 May 2014

Study finds that ECMO treatment could be causing PTSD symptoms in patients

DEPM's Ralph Tramm, Carol Hodgson, and Associate Professor Dragan Illic have co authored a study which has found that extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) patients are often exposed to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) risk factors. According to the study, ECMO is one of the most invasive rescue therapies for acute heart and lung failure and survivors have high rates of adverse mental health outcomes, such as post-traumatic stress symptoms and often manifest PTSD.

The study found that ECMO patients are exposed to PTSD risk factors such as young age, mechanical ventilation, drug administration, delirium and agitation. Younger age, heterogeneous conditions, profound illness severity and prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay describe the case complexity of patients and may explain these findings. Patients in ICU are increasingly conscious during active treatment which may have additional psychological effects. “Awake” ECMO in which patients are conscious while on active life support may represent a unique PTSD risk factor in this perspective.

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