Pre-Op Psych Disorder Means Higher Post-Op Mortality Rate

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Disability Help Group

October 26, 2010 – A recent study produced surprising and seemingly unconnected results. The study was retrospective as it looked at the mental state of veteran-patients who died immediately following, or within 30 days of, undergoing surgery. They found veterans who suffered from psychiatric disorders were more likely to die following their surgery than those veterans without psychiatric disorders.

The study looked at approximately 35,000 veterans over 3 years. All were post-surgical and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Those veterans suffering from the diseases listed below were more likely to die in either the hospital or within 30 days of the procedure.

According to the study, approximately 8,700 veteran-patients suffered from:

  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Schizophrenia;
  • Bipolar disorder; or
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study divided the mortality rates by the disorder from which the veterans were suffering. The only two considerably connected to those veterans dying within 30 days were depression and anxiety. For those veterans dying in the hospital, the only disorder strongly associated with them was depression. 

The conclusions suggest more attention may be required when performing surgery on veterans with preexisting psychiatric disorders. Until further studies can be done into the area, however, the study’s authors suggest surgeons involve the proper team members be included in the surgical process.

Researchers could not pin-point why depression and anxiety were related to post-surgical mortality as there may be more than one answer. The fault could lie with the patients just as easily as with the disease. More research will need to be completed in order to make a more precise determination.