Incidence and risk factors for alopecia in survivors of critical illness: A multi-centre observational study


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Abstract

Purpose:To investigate the incidence, nature and risk factors for patient-reported alopecia in survivors of critical illness.Materials and methods:A multi-centre, mixed methods observational study in the intensive care units (ICU) of ten hospitals in Wales. All patients with an ICU stay of 5days or more, able to give consent were included. Demographic variables and risk factors were collected. A pre-designed survey was completed at three months post-ICU discharge. Statistical analysis included numbers and percentages (categorical variables) and medians and interquartile ranges (continuous variables). Comparisons between patients with and without alopecia were made using Fisher's Exact test (categorical variables) and Mann Whitney U test (continuous variables). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine the risk factors for alopecia.Results:The survey was completed by 123 patients with alopecia reported in 44 (36%) patients. The only risk factor for alopecia on analysis was sepsis / septic shock (p<.001; OR: 5.1, 95%CI: 2.1–12.4).Conclusions:Limited research exists examining the incidence, nature and risk factors for patient-reported alopecia in adult survivors of critical illness. The results of this study highlight the need to discuss the potential for alopecia with survivors of critical illness, who had sepsis / septic shock.HIGHLIGHTSAlopecia was reported in 36% of survivors of critical illness in this study.Sepsis was found to be a risk factor for alopecia in critical illness survivors.Alopecia is a distressing condition reported by ICU patients.

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