FRIDAY, Feb. 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Family members of patients hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) with COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) experience a doubled risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms at 90 days post-ICU discharge compared with family members of patients with non-COVID-19 ARDS, according to a study published online Feb. 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Elie Azoulay, M.D., Ph.D., from Paris University, and colleagues compared the association between patient hospitalization for COVID-19 ARDS versus ARDS from other causes and the risk for PTSD-related symptoms in family members. The analysis included 602 family members and 307 patients (181 patients with COVID-19).

The researchers found that family members of patients with COVID-19 ARDS had a significantly higher prevalence of symptoms of PTSD (35 versus 19 percent), symptoms of anxiety (41 versus 34 percent), and symptoms of depression (31 versus 18 percent) compared with family members of non-COVID-19 ARDS. COVID-19 ARDS was significantly associated with an increased risk for PTSD-related symptoms in family members when adjusting for age, sex, and level of social support (odds ratio, 2.05). Among bereaved family members of patients who died from COVID-19, PTSD prevalence was nearly twice as high as in family members of survivors (62 versus 35 percent).

“The disruption produced by the pandemic may have adversely affected the post-ICU outcomes,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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