Health-related quality of life of patients with multiple organ dysfunction: individual changes and comparison with normative population

Crit Care Med. 2003 Apr;31(4):1094-101. doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000059642.97686.8B.


Objective: To determine health-related quality of life in medical intensive care patients with multiple organ dysfunction.

Design: Prospective, observational study.

Setting: A 12-bed, noncoronary, medical intensive care unit of a university hospital.

Patients: Between June 1998 and May 1999, 318 consecutively admitted adult patients with an intensive care unit stay of >24 hrs were studied.

Measurements and main results: Health-related quality of life was assessed using a generic instrument, the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 Health Survey, at admission and at 6-month follow-up. Patients who developed multiple organ dysfunction (n = 170) consumed 85% of the therapeutic activity provided in the intensive care unit. Compared with age- and sex-adjusted general population controls, multiple organ dysfunction patients had a worse preadmission health-related quality of life than other intensive care unit patients, predominantly due to a higher burden of comorbid disease. In a multivariate analysis, multiple organ dysfunction was the only variable independently associated with deteriorated physical health domains at follow-up (odds ratio, 4.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-14.6; p =.015), but it had no impact on dimensions of mental health. Analyzing the impact of different organ system failures, respiratory failure (odds ratio, 4.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-10.3; p =.002) and acute renal failure (odds ratio, 3.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-11.5; p =.05) increased the risk of deteriorated physical health at follow-up. No impact of the various organ system failures on mental health was noted. At 6-month follow-up, 83-90% of survivors had regained their previous health-related quality of life, and 94% were living at home with their families.

Conclusions: This study has shown that preadmission health-related quality of life of our medical, noncoronary patients was substantially reduced compared with a matched general population. This demonstrates the need to take prehospitalization health-related quality of life into account when examining the outcomes of intensive care unit survivors. Multiple organ dysfunction was the major determinant of poor physical health at follow-up, but it had no impact on mental health domains.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Organ Failure*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires