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Quality of life 6 months after discharge from an intensive care unit


The objective of this study is to determine the quality of life of patients 6 months after their discharge from the ICU and its relationship to age, the APACHE II score during admission, admitting diagnosis, and length of stay.


One hundred and forty-five consecutive patients were admitted to the ICU from August 2001 to June 2003 and that fulfilled the following criteria: age >18 years, an ICU stay longer than 4 days, and place of residence Greece.

Of the 145 patients, 47 died within 6 months of their discharge from the ICU, and from the rest 38 (20 men, 18 women) completed the questionnaire and were included in the study.


After telephone contact and briefing, a special questionnaire was sent by post. The questionnaire was completed by the patient, or if he/she was unable to by his/her relative or the closest person that was living with him/her. The questionnaire that was used was the Short Form Survey 36. This questionnaire has a very good reliability and validity and has been weighted for the Greek language. It consists of 36 questions in eight health dimensions that yield summary measures in two higher order clusters of mental and physical health. Data analysis was performed using the non-parametric Kruskal–Wallis test.


The average age of the participating patients was 56.71 years, the average APACHE II score at admission was 14.84 ± 7.23 and the average length of stay was 15.84 days. Every health dimension was scored separately and received a value from 0% to 100%. The lowest average score that was recorded was 31% and concerned the physical role scale, while the highest average score was 76% and concerned the bodily pain scale. In the rest of the scales the scores ranged from 44% to 59%. In a model that compared quality of life scores for each dimension separately, with age, with APACHE II scores at admission, with length of stay and with admitting diagnosis to the ICU, statistical significance was observed between age and physical functioning (P = 0.015), vitality (P = 0.024) and social functioning (P = 0.014).


Limitations were noted in the physical role, that is the parameter that evaluates social well-being, return to work and participation in daily activities. Age was the only variable that seemed to be related to physical functioning, that is the ability to perform physical activities, social functioning, that is participating in social activities, and vitality, the subjective feeling of tiredness and exhaustion.

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Markantonaki, D., Nikolaou, C., Lascou, M. et al. Quality of life 6 months after discharge from an intensive care unit. Crit Care 9, P240 (2005).

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  • Physical Functioning
  • Social Functioning
  • Subjective Feeling
  • Physical Role
  • Health Dimension