A self-report-based study of the incidence and associations of sexual dysfunction in survivors of intensive care treatment
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To determine the incidence and associations of sexual dysfunction in survivors of intensive care unit treatment in their first year after hospital discharge using a self-report measure.
A prospective observational study.
ICU Follow-up Clinic, The Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.
One hundred and twenty-seven patients aged 18 years and over who spent 3 days or more in the intensive care unit.
Main outcome measures
Demographic data; reported incidence of sexual dysfunction and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology; association between reported sexual dysfunction and age, gender, post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology and length of intensive care unit stay; patient and partner satisfaction with current sex life.
Fifty-two patients (43.6%) reported symptoms of sexual dysfunction. There was a significant association between sexual dysfunction and post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology (p = 0.019). There was no association between reported sexual dysfunction and gender (p = 0.33), age (p = 0.8) or intensive care unit length of stay (p = 0.41). Forty-five per cent of patients and 40% of partners were not satisfied with their current sex life. No other medical practitioner had sought symptoms of sexual dysfunction during the study period.
Symptoms of sexual dysfunction are common in patients recovering from critical illness and appear to be significantly associated with the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology. The intensive care unit follow-up clinic is a suitable forum for the screening and referral of patients with sexual dysfunction.
KeywordsIntensive care Sexual dysfunction Health-related quality of life Post-traumatic stress disorder
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