A new Covid symptom that has been reported in intubated persons may be more common than previously thought
Patients with COVID-19 who have been in intensive care have experienced persistent delirium, according to a study.
But what is delirium?
Delirium is a medical term used to describe a state of darkening of consciousness. Man detaches from reality, there are rapid changes in mood, which is often accompanied by psychotic phenomena. In most cases there is no amnesia, but it can be accompanied by partial amnesia. Clinically, easily distinguishable symptoms of this condition are psychotic phenomena such as hallucinations or delusions.
Initial research has suggested that delirium occurs in up to 80 percent of Covid-19 patients found in intubation, possibly as a result of oxygen loss to the brain or widespread inflammation.
Recently a new analysis of patients who have severe Covid in a hospital in Michigan, has found even more evidence that delirium is a very common symptom of the disease and that it can slow down the patient’s recovery if left untreated.
Using medical records and discharge surveys from 148 controlled patients who are in intubation between March and May 2020, the researchers found that more than 70 percent of them experienced prolonged disturbance in their mental abilities.
In most cases, the delirium lasted for several days. But nearly a third of the participants left the hospital without demonstrating that they had fully recovered from their delirium.
Of those discharged with signs of cognitive impairment, nearly half required qualified medical care to go home. Their constant confusion diminished their ability to take care of themselves, further polls show.
"These results are consistent with previous data demonstrating a high incidence of delirium in patients having aggravated Covid," the authors conclude.
"Furthermore, the average duration of delirium (10 days) is relatively long compared to other critically ill populations."
It is not yet clear whether these severe injuries are the result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself, which appears to cause an unusual number of neurological symptoms that may persist for six months or more, or whether it is a sign of critical illness more widely.
" Overall, this study highlights another reason why vaccination and prevention of serious diseases is so important, " says anesthesiologist Phillip Vlisides of Michigan Medicine.
"There may be long-term neurological complications that we probably don't talk about enough." , he added.
The study was published in BMJ Open