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Annu Rev Med. 2016;67:497-513. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-050913-015722.

Critical Illness Brain Injury.

Girard TD1,2,3, Dittus RS2,4,3, Ely EW1,2,3.

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Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine.
Center for Health Services Research, and.
Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee 37212.
Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health in the Department of Medicine and The Institute for Medicine and Public Health at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232; email:


A growing body of literature has shown that survivors of critical illness often struggle with cognitive impairment that persists months to years after hospital discharge. We describe the epidemiology of this form of cognitive impairment-which we refer to as critical illness brain injury-and review the history and maturation of the investigation of this previously unrecognized, yet common problem. We then review the characteristics of critical illness brain injury, which can vary in severity and typically affects multiple domains of cognition. Finally, we examine known risk factors for critical illness brain injury and, based on these data, suggest approaches to patient management.


cognitive impairment; delirium; dementia; intensive care; mechanical ventilation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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