- Patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) comprise of a heterogeneous population with substantial differences in admission diagnosis, length of stay and co-morbidity. Therefore, very often the prognosis for each patient differs.
- In the Netherlands, over 20% of the more than 80,000 patients treated in ICU annually will die within a year of admission.
- Some of those who survive and are discharged from ICU experience persistent physical, mental and cognitive health problems post-discharge; this is called post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).
- One year following discharge, circa 50% of patients continue to report physical symptoms, including muscle weakness and walking difficulties.
- Approximately one in five patients discharged from ICU will develop symptoms akin to post-traumatic stress disorder, and one third will experience depressive symptoms for some time.
- It remains unclear to what extent the actual ICU admission may potentially contribute to the decline in performance status and quality of life.
Conflict of interest and financial support: ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article.