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Performance of two measures of general health-related quality of life, the EQ-5D and the RAND-36 among critically ill patients

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To compare two health-related quality of life measures, the preference-based EQ-5D with five questions and the profile-based RAND-36 with 36 questions, in previous critically ill patients.


Prospective observational study.


A ten-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) in a tertiary care university hospital.


Of the 2,709 critically ill patients, treated during the years 1995–2000, the 1,099 patients of the 1,443 still alive who returned both mailed measures were included in the study.



Measurements and main results

The EQ-5D and the RAND-36 correlated well (P <.001). Ceiling effect was more obvious with the EQ-5D; the values of the RAND-36 varied usually from 0 to 100 in all the three levels of the corresponding EQ-5D question, and the weakest statistically significant differences were between the EQ levels 2 and 3. In particular, the RAND-36 proved to differentiate better the levels of mobility, self-care, and poor outcome.


The EQ-5D and the RAND-36 correlated well, but when more precisely stated information is needed, especially regarding mobility, self-care, or low quality of life levels of previous critically ill patients, the profile-based RAND-36 may discriminate better.

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We are very thankful to S. Sarna for statistical advice

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Correspondence to Anne Kaarlola.

Electronic Supplementary Material


Appendix 1

The EQ-5D questionnaire:

Appendix 2

The RAND-36 questionnaire:

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Kaarlola, A., Pettilä, V. & Kekki, P. Performance of two measures of general health-related quality of life, the EQ-5D and the RAND-36 among critically ill patients. Intensive Care Med 30, 2245–2252 (2004).

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