Surviving pediatric intensive care: physical outcome after 3 months

Intensive Care Med. 2008 Jun;34(6):1076-82. doi: 10.1007/s00134-008-1061-4. Epub 2008 Mar 21.


Objective: This study investigated the prevalence and nature of physical and neurocognitive sequelae in pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) survivors.

Design and setting: Prospective follow-up study 3 months after discharge from a 14-bed tertiary PICU in The Netherlands.

Patients and participants: The families of 250 previously healthy children unexpectedly admitted to the PICU were invited to visit the outpatient follow-up clinic for structured medical examination of the child 3 months after discharge; 186 patients were evaluated.

Measurements and results: Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category (PCPC) and Pediatric Overall Performance Category (POPC) values were determined at PICU discharge, at the outpatient follow-up clinic, and retrospectively before admission to the PICU. We found that 69% of children had physical sequelae. In 30% of cases these were caused by a previously unknown illness and in 39% by acquired morbidity. In 8% of the children the acquired morbidity was related to complications from PICU procedures. Three months after discharge 77% of the children had normal PCPC scores and 31% had normal POPC scores.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that PICU survival may be associated with substantial physical sequelae. Structured follow-up research, preferably by multicenter studies, is warranted in PICU survivors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Prospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric