Depression and anxiety in relatives of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients: Results of a prospective observational study

J Crit Care. 2019 Jun;51:57-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2019.01.026. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


Purpose: Relatives of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) may suffer from adverse psychological outcomes. We assessed prevalence and risk factors for depression and anxiety in such relatives 90 days after ICU admission.

Materials and methods: This study included consecutive relatives of OHCA patients admitted to the ICU of University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland. Relatives were interviewed upon admission regarding psychosocial risk factors and satisfaction with communication. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) 90 days after inclusion.

Results: Of 101 included relatives, 17% and 13% of relatives reported symptoms of depression and anxiety, respectively. Witnessing cardiopulmonary resuscitation was associated with depression (gender- and age-adjusted odds ratio [OR] 6.71; 95%CI 1.27 to 35.34; p = .025). Satisfaction with information and decision-making was associated with lower risk of depression (adjusted OR 0.95; 95%CI 0.91 to 0.99; p = .013). Unemployment (adjusted OR 10.42; 95%CI 1.18 to 92.35; p = .035) and lower perceived health status were associated with anxiety (adjusted OR 0.93; 95%CI 0.87 to 0.99; p = .025).

Conclusions: Many relatives of OHCA patients report symptoms of depression and anxiety after 90 days. Improving initial care and communication may help to reduce these risks.

Keywords: Anxiety; Communication; Depression; Intensive care unit; OHCA; Relatives.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Communication
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors