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Crit Care Med. 2001 Apr;29(4):737-42.

Quality of life in survivors of prolonged mechanical ventilatory support.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, the Department of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



To examine the long-term quality of life (QOL) in a group of patients after prolonged mechanical ventilatory support.


Prospective cohort study.


Outpatient follow-up.


Survivors of prolonged mechanical ventilatory support who were discharged from a ventilator rehabilitation unit (VRU).


Measurement of health-related QOL using the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP).


Forty-six patients were contacted approximately 2 yrs after their discharge from the VRU and asked to complete the SIP. Twenty-five patients (age, 59 +/- 17 yrs; duration of mechanical ventilatory support, 45 +/- 36 days [mean +/- sd]) agreed to participate in this study and completed the SIP questionnaire 23 +/- 18 months after their discharge from the VRU. Patients' VRU stay was 29 +/- 21 days. Two patients were discharged with nocturnal ventilatory support, and the rest were completely weaned of mechanical ventilatory support before discharge. Fifteen patients (60%) were discharged to home, eight patients (32%) were discharged to a rehabilitation facility, and two patients (8%) were discharged to a skilled-care facility. Most patients had mild dysfunction, and the global SIP score was 12 +/- 10, the physical dimension score was 12 +/- 12, and the psychosocial dimension score was 9 +/- 11 (SIP scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating worse QOL). Subgroup analysis showed that postoperative patients had lower SIP scores compared with patients with chronic respiratory diseases (global SIP, 7 +/- 6 vs. 19 +/- 8; p <.05). Moreover, the patients in the postoperative group were older, but had similar SIP scores as patients who had acute lung injury (17 +/- 15). Global SIP scores correlated with age (r = -.40; p =.046), but not with duration of mechanical ventilatory support (r = -.23) or VRU admission Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores (r = -.39; p =.06).


In survivors of prolonged mechanical ventilatory support, using specific selection criteria shows that there is minimal impairment in the QOL at long-term follow-up. Although some patients continue to have moderate to severe limitations, it is the cause of respiratory failure and the underlying disease, rather than duration of ventilatory support, that have a significant impact on QOL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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