Objective: To compare the health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) survivors with that in a matched control group of non-ARDS survivors.
Design and setting: Prospective, matched, parallel cohort study, comparing HR-QOL between intensive care unit (ICU) survivors with ARDS and a control group in a tertiary care hospital.
Patients: Between May 1997 and December 2000, all ARDS adult patients of an eight-bed medical/surgical unit of a tertiary care hospital were enrolled and a control group of non-ARDS survivors, matched for severity of disease and for previous health state, was selected. The study included 29 ARDS survivors who answered the EQ-5D questionnaire and had lung function evaluated.
Measurements and results: A follow-up appointment was performed 6 months after ICU discharge consisting of: (a) evaluation of HR-QOL using EQ-5D and (b) lung function tests and measure of diffusing capacity. Among ARDS survivors 41% had normal lung function and 59% mild to moderate lung function impairments. Nearly a one-third of ARDS survivors reported problems in one or more of the five dimensions of the EQ-5D, and 48% reported feeling worse at the interview than 6 month before ICU admission. No significant differences were found in HR-QOL between ARDS survivors and other ICU survivors with similar age and matched for previous health state and severity of disease.
Conclusions: This study suggests that impairments in HR-QOL among ARDS survivors may not be distinguishable from that among other ICU survivors.