Emotional sequelae during and following hospital admission for diabetic ketoacidosis
Maclennan, Kirsty Yvonne
Matheson, Kirsty Yvonne
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Increasingly patients are surviving admission to intensive care units (ICUs) with life-threatening, critical illness. This has led to a growing interest in longer-term patient outcomes, including their psychological health. This thesis consists of two discrete sections: 1) a systematic review of research that evaluated emotional outcomes between 3 and 12 months post-ICU discharge, and 2) a longitudinal cohort study of emotional sequelae among adults with Type 1 diabetes during and following admission for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The systematic review identified seven studies that met inclusion criteria, and highlighted weaknesses in the existing literature. From the available evidence there appears to be elevated rates of clinically significant depression (11%), anxiety (15%) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms (23%) 3 months after discharge, and these remain high 9 months later (12%; 18%, and 27%, respectively). The prospective study of DKA admissions indicated substantial rates of clinically relevant depression (25%); anxiety (37.5%), and PTSD symptoms (37.5%) prior to discharge. However, 3 months later the rates of depression and PTSD had substantially attenuated (both 8.3%) although rates of anxiety (37.5%) remained higher than that found in the general population (7%) and the local Type 1 diabetes clinical community (11.9%). Those admitted with DKA had significantly poorer HbA1c compared to the overall Type 1 clinic population (10.9% vs. 8.9%; p < 0.0001), which indicates substantial difficulties in self managing their condition. It appears that psychological problems are elevated over time following ICU discharge. PTSD is notably high and enduring in general ICU survivors, whereas was observed to fall away in the DKA sample. Anxiety seems to be elevated and this persists over time following DKA; this is pertinent given the dearth of research on the role of anxiety in the efforts of people with type 1 diabetes to manage their condition. As far as the authors’ are aware, this is the first study tracking emotional outcomes post DKA discharge. There are clearly significant psychological issues that will likely impact on staff efforts to provide ward-based care aimed at improving post-discharge diabetes control, and on the future efforts of those admitted for DKA to self-manage a complex condition. A greater awareness of the psychological issues affecting people with type 1 diabetes who experience DKA is an important first step. More specifically, a better understanding among health professionals about the ways emotional distress can impact on self-management is needed, as well as a greater understanding of how best to communicate information and educational material in light of possible information processing deficits (which may be a result of emotional distress). Larger, multi-centre, higher quality studies are required in both general ICU settings and looking at specific disease complications (such as DKA). Psychological screening for ICU survivors and implementation of a care pathway to allow access to services post-ICU may be a useful development.