Veterans with preexisting psych conditions may have higher postop mortality risk

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Mortality rates after surgery are higher for veterans with a history of psychiatric disorder(s), according to findings reported by Thad Abrams, MD, of the Iowa City VA Medical Center, and colleagues. According to the study, published in the October issue of Archives of Surgery, of the almost 35,000 post-surgical patients admitted to the ICU over a three year period around one quarter had a preexisting psychiatric disorder, to include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or schizophrenia; this group was found to have greater odds of dying in the hospital (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.30) or at 30 days postop (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.37).

Abrams and co-authors wrote, “The findings suggest that greater clinical vigilance may be required in providing surgical care for patients with a range of psychiatric diagnoses.” At the present time the authors suggested that “…surgeons caring for patients with a history of anxiety or depression seek early involvement of multidisciplinary teams to help identify problematic areas in perioperative care processes, particularly regarding issues of surgeon-patient communication and adherence to post-surgical recommendations.” Click here to read an article from Doctors Lounge that discusses this study more.

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