Dutch researchers explore impact of long-term intensive care

Intensive care numbers are also falling. Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Seven in 10 intensive care patients suffer long term physical, psychological or cognitive problems, according to a research project at seven Dutch hospitals which was started last year, before the coronavirus crisis.

Some 6,000 intensive care patients have been included in the study to date but the aim is to build this out to 12,000, broadcaster NOS reported. The results published so far apply to 2,000 patients.

The phenomenon, known as Post Intensive Care Syndrome is not a new discovery, but the Dutch research aims to shed more light on which patients are most likely to develop PICS.

‘And we want to know if we can act early on to limit the potential effects,’ senior researcher Mark van den Boogaard told the broadcaster.

Five years

The seven hospitals involved are monitoring their selected IC patients for five years. ‘We have noted that patients have complaints ranging from light to serious for a year after their hospitalisation,’ Van den Boogaard said.

‘But we see a clear difference between the seriousness of the complaints between people who have spent one or two days in IC after a planned operation and people who have been there for seven or eight days. The second group have far more problems.’

Patients who have been placed in IC because of coronavirus are spending an average of 23 days on the ward.

Doctors have already warned that lung damage is emerging as a side effect of coronavirus, particularly among people who have spend long periods on ventilators.

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