[Mental disorders in general hospital patients].Psychiatr Danub. 2006 Dec; 18(3-4):183-92.PD
Two major epidemiological studies using standardized instruments for diagnosis have revealed that the prevalence of mental disorders in general hospital inpatients range from 41.3% to 46.5%. The most prevalent groups of psychiatric disorders among general hospital inpatients are organic mental illness, depressive disorders, and alcohol dependence or abuse. The prevalence rates of organic brain syndromes, adjustment disorders with depressed mood, and alcohol dependence in general hospital inpatients are above those of the general population. In nearly half of the studied general hospital inpatients receiving a psychiatric diagnosis Consultation-Liaison (C-L) psychiatry interventions were found to be necessary. However, psychiatric consultation rates found in most recently presented studies in Germany and Austria range from 2.66% to 3.30%, and remain low when compared to the reported prevalence figures of psychiatric disorders and the demonstrated necessity for specific therapeutic interventions among general hospital inpatients. There is also evidence stemming from newly presented C-L follow-up studies that the remarkable advances in intensive care treatment, organ transplantation medicine and cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass within the past decade have an important impact on the general hospital inpatients; psychosocial outcome. One follow-up study of long-term acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) survivors using the Structural Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV (SCID) has shown that 43.5% of these patients met the criteria for a full posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 8.9% of these patients for a subthreshold or partial PTSD (sub-PTSD) at hospital discharge, and 23.9% of them still suffered from full PTSD, 17.8% of them from sub-PTSD. ARDS-Patients with PTSD symptomatology exhibited major impairments in a variety of dimensions of health-related quality of life. Another outcome study examining concurrently psychiatric morbidity and quality of life in intermediate-term survivors of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) survivors has documented that 5.4% of these patients had a full PTSD, and 17.3% of them a sub-PTSD at 4 year-follow-up. OLT- related PTSD symptomatology was associated with maximal decrements in health-related quality of life. The duration of intensive care treatment, the number of medical complications, and the occurrence of acute rejection were positively correlated with the risk of PTSD symptoms subsequent to OLT. Finally, one prospective 1-year outcome study has focused on psychiatric morbidity including postoperative delirium in patients who had undergone cardiac surgery employing cardiopulmonary bypass. Postoperative delirium developed in 32.4% of these patients, however, only in 5.9% of them severe delirium was noted. Short-term consequences of cardiac surgery included adjustment disorders with depressed features (32.4%), acute full in-hospital PTSD (17.6%), and in-hospital major depression (17.6%). The diagnostic status of in-hospital PTSD was linked to postoperative delirium. At 12 months, the severity of depression and anxiety disorders including PTSD improved and returned to the preoperative level. However, patients who were found to have major depression or PTSD before discharge, C-L psychiatric consultations were conducted. In conclusion, PTSD symptoms following medical illness and treatment are not rare. If they are untreated, PTSD symptoms such as intrusive recollections, avoidance and hyper-arousal may impair the patients; quality of life more than the primary disease. This seems to be also true for a subthreshold PTSD. To adequately diagnose and treat patients at risk of developing PTSD, close collaboration between physicians of all subspecialties and C-L psychiatrists will be necessary.