Intensive care unit (ICU) survivors report reductions in health-related quality of life (HR-QOL), whilst chronic pain is common in the general population. However, it is unknown whether there are associations between the experience of ICU and the incidence of chronic pain. A questionnaire--Pain Scale, Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (PSEQ), Centre of Epidemiology Study Depression Scale (CES-D Scale) and the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36)--was sent to 99 consenting patients who had been in the ICU for >48 hours. Sixty-six and 52 questionnaires were returned at 1 and 6 months respectively. There was a general limitation in activities of daily living; younger ages (36-65 years) experienced a decease in work performance and other physical activities. Bodily pain increased, general health diminished, and engagements in social activities were severely affected. There was a decline in mental health for those 36-65 years of age. HR-QOL improved over time; 28% experienced chronic pain and had longer hospital length of stay (LOS), tended to have longer ICU LOS and were ventilated for longer. Those with chronic pain had significant reductions in physical function, bodily pain, general health and vitality. Ventilator hours and hospital LOS were associated with risk of chronic pain (OR 1.09, p=0.033 and OR 1.27, p=0.046). HR-QOL in ICU survivors declined, although there was a general improvement from 1-6 months. This decline in HR-QOL affected younger people (less than 65 years) more than older people. Chronic pain is a significant issue post ICU and is associated with poorer HR-QOL.
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