MONDAY, Oct. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Spouses of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) have an increased risk for cardiovascular events in the one to four weeks after admission, according to a research letter published online Oct. 5 in Circulation.

Hiroyuki Ohbe, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Tokyo, and colleagues used data on married couples from the Japan Medical Data Center database to examine the impact of ICU admission of a spouse on the risk for cardiovascular events in the short term after ICU admission. A total of 7,815 spouses of patients who were admitted to the ICU for more than two days were identified and compared to 31,250 age-, sex-, and medical insurance status-matched individuals without exposure.

The researchers found that the spouses in the exposure group were more likely to be diagnosed with hypertension (22 versus 20 percent), diabetes mellitus (18 versus 17 percent), and hyperlipidemia (23 versus 22 percent) than those in the nonexposure group. At one to four weeks after the spouse’s ICU admission, the percentage of visits for cardiovascular diseases was 2.7 and 2.1 percent for those in the exposure and nonexposure groups, respectively (odds ratio, 1.27). Comparable results were seen for hospitalization for cardiovascular diseases and severe cardiovascular events.

“A patient’s admission to ICU puts acute psychological stress on family members, and that stress may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease particularly for the other spouse,” Ohbe said in a statement.

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