The COVID-19 pandemic has been giving us a lot of problems for almost two years now. With the long battle against the virus in the modern world, researchers still believe that there are some overlooked consequences amidst the milestones we achieve. In a recent study, experts found that there is an underlying consequence before and after a COVID-19 patient undergo hospitalization.
COVID-10 Patients Found Affected by Delirium
The study was made possible with the help of 150 patients that were affected by COVID-19 on its first wave. Out of that total participants, 73 percent had experienced a psychological case called delirium, in which the individual could suffer from confusion, agitation, and derailed train of thoughts. The people who are affected with delirium tend to be weaker than normal and healthy people. Some of the patients with delirium are also found vulnerable to comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension.
Michigan Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology expert and author of the study Phillip Vlisides said in a EurekAlert report that some of the delirium patients have their COVID-related illness more potent than the normal symptoms of the coronavirus. The expert added that alongside delirium, there are other psychological cases that are considered an outcome of prolonged hospitalization.
The team examined how delirium affects patients for the first time in detailed observation. The analysis was made after the discharge of the COVID-19 patients between March and May 2020. The data of the patients were collected from surveys and medical records of the patients. The findings based on the scientific studies suggest that the COVID-19 patients who developed delirium had common threads in their behaviors and other aspects that point out to the psychological condition.
Delirium could affect patients not just from a psychological perspective, but also through physical manifestations in our bodies. The disease is known to have the ability on reducing the oxygen in the brain, and could eventually result in cognitive impairment. Delirium also increases inflammatory markers in patients. This inflammation could also trigger the well-known symptoms of delirium which are agitation and confusion.
Delirium in the Pandemic
Vlisides said that the protocols to accommodate the delirium condition at the beginning of the pandemic were not given a focus. The supposed treatments to prevent the cases are activities designed to exercise the locomotion of the patients. In addition, there was a lack of avenues to make patients interact with either their visitors or the objects that could remind them of their homes. The early pandemic did not allow the experts to have their patients undergo a standard delirium prevention approach. The pre-vaccine era is challenging to complete the steps needed by patients who are affected with delirium due to the limited interactions and shortage of available equipment for COVID-19 transmission prevention.
Among their findings is that there has been a discovered correlation between the cases of delirium and the usage of sedatives. Patients were given a higher dosage of sedatives while they are hospitalized. Although the sedatives are commonly used to patients in the ICU, the nurses that treated the patients under observation said that a higher dosage was necessary, as the patients with delirium tend to be more agitated. After discharge, almost 40 percent of the total delirium patients also required nurse care due to limited abilities caused by confusion. The study was published in the journal BMJ Open Intensive Care, titled "Delirium and neuropsychological outcomes in critically Ill patients with COVID-19: a cohort study."
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