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Long-stay medical-surgical intensive care unit patients in South Africa: Quality of life and mortality 1 year after discharge

E van der Merwe, D Baker, G Sharp, M van Niekerk, F Paruk

Abstract


Background. Although mortality is the primary measure of critical care outcome, the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of survivors is often diminished. There is a paucity of South African research on HRQOL in intensive care unit (ICU) survivors.

Objectives. To evaluate the 1-year post-discharge data of long-stay ICU patients, a group known to consume 20 - 40% of ICU resources.

Methods. A 1-year prospective observational study was conducted in a multidisciplinary medical-surgical ICU. Adult patients who were mechanically ventilated beyond 6 days were included. Clinical and mortality data were collected. Pre-admission and 6- and 12-month HRQOL were measured with the Short Form-36 questionnaire. Physical and mental component summary scores (PCS and MCS) were calculated. Associations between 12-month mortality and poor HRQOL scores were determined.

Results. Of 119 patients enrolled, 40.3% had sustained trauma, 19.3% were post-surgical and 40.3% had medical conditions; 29.2% were HIV-positive (HIV status was known for 74.8% of the cohort). The hospital and 12-month mortality rates were 42.9% and 57.4% (n=66/115), respectively. Age, longer ICU stay, higher disease severity scores and vasopressor use were associated with 12-month mortality. The survivors’ median PCS and MCS at 6 and 12 months were significantly lower compared with pre-admission scores (both p<0.001). At 12 months, 53.1% of survivors demonstrated a poor PCS and 42.9% a poor MCS. Associations with poor 12-month PCS included longer ICU stay, male gender and trauma, while trauma and sepsis were associated with a poor 12-month MCS. Among the 19 trauma survivors, 78.9% had a poor MCS and/or PCS. Of previously employed patients, 54.8% were unemployed at 12 months.

Conclusions. Patients ventilated beyond 6 days in a multidisciplinary ICU had a high mortality. Poor HRQOL at 12 months post discharge was frequently observed among survivors. Trauma was associated with poor 12-month outcomes. These findings highlight the need to further explore the outcomes of long-stay ICU patients in Africa.


Authors' affiliations

E van der Merwe, Adult Critical Care Unit, Livingstone Tertiary Hospital, Gqeberha, South Africa; Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa

D Baker, Adult Critical Care Unit, Livingstone Tertiary Hospital, Gqeberha, South Africa; Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa

G Sharp, Department of Statistics, Faculty of Science, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa

M van Niekerk, Adult Critical Care Unit, Livingstone Tertiary Hospital, Gqeberha, South Africa; Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa

F Paruk, Department of Critical Care, Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Keywords

Long-stay ICU; Intensive care unit; Mortality; Health-related quality of life

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2022;112(3):227-233.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-03-02
Date published: 2022-03-02

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