Outcome of paediatric intensive care survivors

Eur J Pediatr. 2007 Nov;166(11):1119-28. doi: 10.1007/s00431-007-0573-1. Epub 2007 Sep 7.


The development of paediatric intensive care has contributed to the improved survival of critically ill children. Physical and psychological sequelae and consequences for quality of life (QoL) in survivors might be significant, as has been determined in adult intensive care unit (ICU) survivors. Awareness of sequelae due to the original illness and its treatment may result in changes in treatment and support during and after the acute phase. To determine the current knowledge on physical and psychological sequelae and the quality of life in survivors of paediatric intensive care, we undertook a computerised comprehensive search of online databases for studies reporting sequelae in survivors of paediatric intensive care. Studies reporting sequelae in paediatric survivors of cardiothoracic surgery and trauma were excluded, as were studies reporting only mortality. All other studies reporting aspects of physical and psychological sequelae were analysed. Twenty-seven studies consisting of 3,444 survivors met the selection criteria. Distinct physical and psychological sequelae in patients have been determined and seemed to interfere with quality of life. Psychological sequelae in parents seem to be common. Small numbers, methodological limitations and quantitative and qualitative heterogeneity hamper the interpretation of data. We conclude that paediatric intensive care survivors and their parents have physical and psychological sequelae affecting quality of life. Further well-designed prospective studies evaluating sequelae of the original illness and its treatment are warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Critical Care
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survivors* / psychology