Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 2149–2156

Follow-up after intensive care: a single center study


DOI: 10.1007/s00134-003-2034-2

Cite this article as:
Kvåle, R., Ulvik, A. & Flaatten, H. Intensive Care Med (2003) 29: 2149. doi:10.1007/s00134-003-2034-2



To study health problems, quality of life, functional status, and memory after intensive care.


Adult patients (n=346) discharged from a university hospital ICU.

Design and methods

Prospective cohort study. Follow-up patients were found using the ICU database and the Peoples Registry. Quality of life (QOL) was measured with the Short Form 36 (SF-36) 6 months after ICU discharge. Semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, Glasgow Outcome Score (recovery), and Karnofsky Index (functional status) were used at consultations 7–8 months after ICU discharge.


The SF-36 response rate was 64.5%, with scores significantly lower than population scores. Consultation patients (n=136) did not differ from the rest (n=210) regarding age, SAPS II scores, length of stay (LOS), and reasons for ICU admission. At follow-up 67.6% of consultation patients continued most activities, 75% looked after themselves, and 64.7% were non-workers, compared to 40.4% before the ICU admission. During and after the ICU stay, 40% lost more than 10 kg body weight. Fifty-eight (43%) could not remember anything from their ICU stay. At follow-up only 22 (16%) could remember having received information during their ICU stay. Three patients needed referral to other specialities.


We should focus more on optimizing symptom management and giving repeated information after ICU discharge. Nutritional status and weight loss is another area of concern. More research is needed to find out how the broad range of psychosocial and physical problems following an ICU stay relates to the stay.


Intensive careFollow-up studiesPatient outcome assessmentQuality of lifeHealth statusMemory

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive CareHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway