Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 445–451 | Cite as

A self-report-based study of the incidence and associations of sexual dysfunction in survivors of intensive care treatment

  • John Griffiths
  • Melanie Gager
  • Nicola Alder
  • Derek Fawcett
  • Carl Waldmann
  • Jane Quinlan



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.


Intensive care Sexual dysfunction Health-related quality of life Post-traumatic stress disorder 

Supplementary material

134_2005_48_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material (DOC 25kb)
134_2005_48_MOESM2_ESM.doc (24 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material (DOC 24kb)
134_2005_48_MOESM3_ESM.doc (46 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material (DOC 46kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Griffiths
    • 1
  • Melanie Gager
    • 2
  • Nicola Alder
    • 3
  • Derek Fawcett
    • 2
  • Carl Waldmann
    • 2
  • Jane Quinlan
    • 1
  1. 1.Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of OxfordThe John Radcliffe HospitalOxfordUK
  2. 2.The Royal Berkshire HospitalReadingUK
  3. 3.Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Wolfson CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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