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A new frontier in ICU research: Post Intensive Care syndrome
The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Critical Care Physicians, General Public, General Medical Professionals
Nathan Maryn walks in the post-surgical intensive care unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital with his wife, Barbara Maryn, and Jennifer Sahm, a physical therapist. A nurse followed with a chair in case he became unsteady. Exercise in the ICU is associated with better long term outcomes.
One woman left Johns Hopkins' intensive-care unit believing her husband and nurse had been plotting to kill her. Another ICU patient had flashbacks of hospital walls covered in blood. A third had visions of big spiders riding bicycles in her room. Suddenly, a favorite hobby, gardening, felt creepy.
Doctors used to think patients returned to normal after the delusions and hallucinations of ICU delirium stopped. They're learning instead that some leave the hospital with terrifying false memories, often of being assaulted or imprisoned. The horrible visions help explain why a recent Johns Hopkins study found that one in four patients had post-traumatic stress symptoms two years after going home.
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