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Crit Care Med. 1999 Jun;27(6):1132-9.

Quality of life after prolonged intensive care.

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Critical Care Research Program, the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Kuopio University Hospital, Finland.



To assess the subjective health status, quality of life, and functional ability of patients whose intensive care stay was prolonged and to compare their quality of life with that of the general population.


Inception cohort study.


Twenty-three-bed multidisciplinary intensive care unit (ICU) in a tertiary care center.


A consecutive sample of 718 patients aged > or = 18 yrs who required intensive care > or = 4 days.




The Nottingham Health Profile was used to compare the ICU patients with a random sample (n = 2,595) of the general population. The quality of life and functional ability of 368 respondents (78.3% of 470 survivors) were assessed at 6 months after ICU admission. The length of the ICU stay was 13.6+/-11.8 (median, 9; maximum, 81) days. The quality of life and its various dimensions were influenced by the diagnosis for ICU admission and age. Although problems in physical mobility and energy were prevalent among all patient groups, only a small proportion was dependent on others for the management of daily activities. Patients with trauma or respiratory failure experienced the most limitations. The quality of life of elderly patients and patients who had undergone cardiac surgery was comparable with the general population regarding emotional reactions, social isolation, and pain.


The quality of life of survivors after a prolonged intensive care stay is fairly good, although not comparable with that of the general population. The psychosocial aspects of the quality of life are restored more rapidly than physical performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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