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Anaesthesia. 1997 Mar;52(3):195-202.

Changes in quality of life after intensive care: comparison with normal data.

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Intensive Care Unit, Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, UK.


The Short Form 36 was used to compare critically ill patients' premorbid quality of life with normal values and investigate any changes following 6 months convalescence. One hundred and sixty-six survivors completed the Short Form 36 at discharge from intensive care. The answers given by survivors were significantly lower than normal for all dimensions. However, 21 patients who suffered from acute life-threatening conditions were identified and their overall scores were similar to normal values. After 6 months, 95 questionnaires were returned. Patients who had suffered acute pathologies reported significant decreases in quality of life whilst other patients with pre-existing ill health reported significant improvement with reduced pain and better mental health, vitality and social function. This study suggests that quality of life of most patients admitted to intensive care is not as good as in the normal population but does not deteriorate except for those patients admitted after acute life-threatening events.

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