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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2018 Apr 23. doi: 10.1111/aas.13139. [Epub ahead of print]

Health-related quality of life after general surgical intensive care.

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Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Unit of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden.
Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden.
Center for Collaborative Palliative Care, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.



Impaired mental and physical health are common complications after intensive care that could influence the patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Earlier research has mainly focused on HRQoL in mixed surgical and medical ICU populations. This study aimed to describe and analyze factors associated with HROoL after discharge from a general surgical ICU.


A prospective cohort study was conducted in a general surgical ICU in Sweden between 2005 and 2012. Adult patients (≥18 years) with an ICU length of stay ≥96 hours were included. HRQoL was measured at 3, 6, and 12 months after discharge from the ICU using a questionnaire (SF-36). A linear mixed model was used to analyze changes over time and Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests were used to compare the 12-months results to an age and gender matched reference population in Sweden. Linear regression analyses were performed to explore the impact on HRQoL from background variables.


Of 447 patients eligible for the study, 276 patients (62%) answered SF-36 at least once at 3, 6 or 12 months after ICU care and were included in the study. HRQoL improved over time but was still significantly lower at 12 months compared to the reference population. Female gender, age <75 years, living single, and ICU-stay of more than 14 days were associated with lower HRQoL.


General surgical ICU patients reports low HRQoL 1 year after ICU stay. The impaired HRQoL could be a long-lasting problem with major consequences for the individual, family, and society.


SF-36; critical care; health related quality of life; intensive care unit


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