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Medical comorbidities in patients with serious mental illness: a retrospective study of mental health patients attending an outpatient clinic in Qatar

Authors Zolezzi M, Abdulrhim S, Isleem N, Zahrah F, Eltorki Y

Received 9 May 2017

Accepted for publication 8 August 2017

Published 15 September 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 2411—2418

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S141448

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Monica Zolezzi,1 Sara Abdulrhim,2 Nour Isleem,2 Farah Zahrah,2 Yassin Eltorki3

1Clinical Pharmacy and Practice, 2College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, 3Department of Pharmacy, Hamad Medical Corporation Mental Health Hospital, Doha, Qatar

Background: The life span of individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) is shorter compared to the general population. This excess mortality is mainly due to physical illness. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence rates of different physical illnesses in individuals with SMI and to examine how these are being managed.
Methods: The study was a cross-sectional retrospective chart review of a cohort of patients with SMI. A comprehensive electronic data extraction tool using SurveyMonkey® was used to collect patient demographics, psychiatric and medical comorbidities, medications and all relevant physical assessments. Data were then first extrapolated into an Excel® spreadsheet and later to SPSS® for data analysis. A descriptive statistical approach was used to analyze the demographic and clinical data. Chi-square test for categorical variables and t-test for continuous variables were used to compare the demographic and clinical characteristics of the cohort.
Results: A total of 336 patients with SMI were included for the retrospective chart review. The majority of these patients had a diagnosis of depression (50.3%), followed by schizophrenia (33.0%) and bipolar disorder (19.6%). Diabetes was the most frequent medical comorbidity, diagnosed in 16.1% of SMI patients, followed by hypertension (9.2%) and dyslipidemia (9.8%). Monitoring of comorbidity-associated risk factors and other relevant physical assessment parameters (such as blood pressure, weight, hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c], blood glucose and lipids) were documented in less than 50% of patients, and some parameters, such as smoking status, were not documented at all.
Conclusion: Both, the literature and our cohort provide evidence that individuals with SMI are less likely to receive standard levels of care for their medical comorbidities.

Keywords: serious mental illness, medical comorbidities, physical illness, psychiatric patients

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