New test could improve access to mental health support for healthcare professionals exhausted by COVID-19 pandemic



ATLANTA, September 28, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Research presented today at AACC 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Labs Expo Shows New Test Could Identify Healthcare Professionals Experiencing High Levels of Stress and work-related anxiety. As COVID-19 cases rise again, this test could play a critical role in helping healthcare professionals on the front lines of the pandemic gain critical mental health support.

As the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads, healthcare professionals find themselves where they were before the vaccines were released: grappling with a flood of COVID-19 patients and the challenges that entail. In some ways, this new wave of COVID-19 cases is hitting healthcare professionals even harder than previous peaks due to the fact that many are still struggling with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder from earlier stages. of the pandemic. To make matters worse, healthcare professionals are also severely overworked as thousands have left the field due to the pandemic, causing chronic staff shortages. Not only does this have a terrible impact on the mental well-being of healthcare professionals, it also impacts the quality of care patients receive for both COVID-19 and more common illnesses. It is therefore vital that hospitals improve the access of health professionals to mental health support.

A blood test for work-related stress could help achieve this goal by making it easier to identify healthcare professionals who need mental health treatment. In an effort to find a biomarker that could be used for such a test, a team of researchers led by Hala Demerdash, PhD, University Hospitals of Alexandria in Egypt, investigated whether blood levels of copeptin correlate with psychological stress. Copeptin is part of a precursor to the hormone arginine vasopressin (which is released in response to stress) which is more stable than the hormone itself. Researchers measured blood copeptin levels in 70 doctors and nurses who treated patients with COVID-19 in intensive care, and also gave participants a psychological stress questionnaire at the same times their copeptin levels went up. been measured.

From there, the researchers found that there was a positive correlation between the blood levels of copeptin and the stress questionnaire scores of the study participants. Participants worked in the intensive care unit for two weeks, followed by two weeks of home isolation. They were actually at their highest stress level just before entering the intensive care unit due to anticipatory anxiety, with average blood copeptin levels of 15.67 ± 8.6 pmol / L and mean stress questionnaire scores of 66.9 ± 18.3. Then, after home isolation for two weeks, their mean copeptin levels and questionnaire scores both dropped markedly to 3.98 ± 1.28 pmol / L and 23.0 ± 7.95, respectively.

“Before starting this study, we observed that healthcare providers who were going to be enrolled in the ICU suffered from anxiety issues,” Demerdash said. “Some were even trying to find excuses to postpone their shifts. Therefore, I decided, why not measure stress hormones and correlate them with stress questionnaire scores and the anxiety levels of providers. From this, I discovered that copeptin was significantly elevated in healthcare before entering the intensive care unit and that copeptin can be used as a potential biomarker of physiological stress during labor in a stressful environment.

Abstract information
Registration for the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting is free for members of the media. Journalists can register online here:

Summary A-151: Assessment of copeptin and psychological stress in healthcare providers during the COVID pandemic will be presented at:

Scientific poster session
Tuesday, September 28
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (present author of 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
Poster room, exhibition room C
Georgia World Congress Center

About the 2021 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Laboratory Exhibition
The AACC Annual Scientific Meeting offers 5 days filled with opportunities to learn about the exciting science of September 26-30. Plenary sessions explore COVID-19 vaccines and the evolution of the virus, research lessons from the pandemic, artificial intelligence in the clinic, miniaturization of diagnostic platforms and improvements in cystic fibrosis treatments.

At the AACC Clinical Lab Expo, more than 400 exhibitors will fill the Georgia World Congress Center show in Atlanta with displays of the latest diagnostic technologies including, but not limited to, COVID-19 testing, artificial intelligence, mobile health, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, point of care, and automating.

About AACC
Dedicated to improving health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, researchers and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, laboratory management and others. areas of progress in laboratory science. Since 1948, the AACC has strived to advance common interests in the field, delivering programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise and innovation. For more information visit

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