Severe COVID-19 can cause delirium in patients, study finds

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Severe COVID-19 can cause delirium in patients, study finds
Severe COVID-19 can cause delirium in patients, study finds

22 Sep 2021: Severe COVID-19 can cause delirium in patients, study finds

Severe coronavirus disease can lead to delirium in patients, a study conducted in the United States found. The research included 150 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, of which 73 percent had delirium. Delirium is a disturbance in mental state where a person is confused, agitated, and unable to think clearly. Here's more on this study.

Study: COVID-19 can lead to reduced oxygen, cognitive impairment

COVID-19 can lead to reduced oxygen to the brain as well as the development of blood clots and stroke, resulting in cognitive impairment. Additionally, the disease leads to increased inflammatory issues, including inflammation of the brain, which could be the cause behind confusion and agitation, researchers said. Medical care teams were also unable to perform standard delirium management techniques due to COVID-19-related curbs.

Details: Author warns of 'prolonged hospitalization, difficult recovery'

Delirium was detected in 108 of 148 (73%) patients, with a median duration of 10 (4-17) days. In the delirium cohort, 50% (54 of 108) patients were African American and a majority of them were female (76 of 108; 70%). "COVID-19 is also associated with a number of other adverse outcomes that tend to prolong hospitalization and make recovery difficult (sic)," Vlisides said.

Sedation: Delirium patients required sedatives more often

Researchers also found that patients with delirium were sedated more often and frequently at higher doses. "It is common to use IV sedatives in the ICU, particularly for patients on a ventilator. However, from talking to nurses, we found that patients with severe COVID-19 were inherently more delirious and agitated at baseline, perhaps prompting more sedative use," according to Vlisides.

Finding: Symptoms may last months even after discharge

Worryingly, the study found, cognitive impairment can persist for a long time even after discharge. Nearly 33% of patients did not consider their delirium as resolved upon leaving the hospital and 40% of them required nursing care. For some patients, the symptoms lasted months. "Whatever creative ways we can implement in delirium prevention protocols is likely to be very helpful," the study author said.

Other details: 'Study highlights why vaccination is so important'

"Overall, this study highlights another reason why getting vaccinated and preventing severe illness is so important. There can be long-term neurological complications that perhaps we don't talk about as much as we should," Vlisides said. The study has been published in the journal BMJ Open and its authors also include Jacqueline Ragheb, Amy McKinney, Mackenzie Zierau, Joseph Brooks, Maria Hill-Caruthers, and Graciela Mentz.

The news article, Severe COVID-19 can cause delirium in patients, study finds appeared first on NewsBytes.

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