ICU survivors show no decline in health-related quality of life after 5 years
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Severe critical illness requiring treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) may have a serious impact on patients and their families. However, optimal follow-up periods are not defined and data on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) before ICU admission as well as those beyond 2 years follow-up are limited. The aim of our study was to assess the impact of ICU stay up to 5 years after ICU discharge.
We performed a long-term prospective cohort study in patients admitted for longer than 48 h in a medical-surgical ICU. The Short-Form 36 was used to evaluate HRQOL before admission (by proxy within 48 h after admission of the patient), at ICU discharge, and at 1, 2, and 5 years following ICU discharge (all by patients). Changes in HRQOL were assessed using linear mixed modeling.
We included a total of 749 patients (from 2000 to 2007). At 5 years after ICU discharge 234 patients could be evaluated. After correction for natural decline in HRQOL, the mean scores of four dimensions—physical functioning (p < 0.001), role-physical (p < 0.001), general health (p < 0.001), and social functioning (p = 0.003)—were still significantly lower 5 years after ICU discharge compared with their pre-admission levels, although effect sizes were small (<0.5).
After correction for natural decline, the effect sizes of decreases in HRQOL were small, suggesting that patients regain their age-specific HRQOL 5 years after their ICU stay.
KeywordsCritical care Long-term outcome SF-36 HRQOL Natural decline
- APACHE II
Acute physiology and chronic health evaluation
Confusion assessment method for the ICU
Health-related quality of life
Intensive care unit
Interquartile range (P 25–P 75)
Length of stay
Mental component score
Physical component score
Role limitation due to emotional problems
Role limitation due to physical problems
Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
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