Returning home after intensive care: a comparison of symptoms of anxiety and depression in ICU and elective cardiac surgery patients and their relatives

Intensive Care Med. 2005 Jan;31(1):86-91. doi: 10.1007/s00134-004-2495-y. Epub 2004 Nov 23.


Objective: This study gathered data on symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients and relatives after discharge from intensive care and examined whether the intensive care population differ from an elective cardiac surgery group with regards to their anxiety and depression symptom reporting.

Design and setting: A single measurement point matched group comparison study in an ICU follow-up programme.

Patients and participants: Twenty ICU patients and their relatives and a matched comparison group of 15 elective cardiac surgery patients and their relatives.

Measurements and results: Patients and relatives completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Relatives answered an open question to explore the perceived impact of Intensive care/cardiac surgery on their lives. ICU patients' relatives reported significantly higher number of symptoms of anxiety than did ICU patients, higher number of symptoms of depression than cardiac surgery patients' relatives, and more troubling and life-altering experiences than the relatives of cardiac surgery patients.

Conclusions: Relatives of ICU patients also suffer anxiety and depression, and services should address this need. Group differences suggest that ICU patients' relatives have "unique" characteristics of depression symptom reporting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Critical Care / psychology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Prevalence
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology