ICU survivors show no decline in health-related quality of life after 5 years.Intensive Care Med. 2015 Mar; 41(3):495-504.IC
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.