Health-related quality of life after prolonged pediatric intensive care unit stay

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2009 Jan;10(1):41-4. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e31819371f6.


Objective: To investigate the long-term health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes for patients requiring at least 28 days of pediatric intensive care.

Design: Retrospective cohort and prospective follow-up study.

Setting: A 21-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in a university-affiliated, tertiary referral pediatric hospital.

Patients: One hundred ninety-three patients who spent 28 days or longer in the PICU between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2004.

Interventions: Quality of life was measured using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (Peds QL 4.0) parent-proxy version at 2 to 10 yrs after discharge. The PedsQL 4.0 is a modular measure of HRQOL, which is reliable in children aged 2 to 18 yrs. It generates a total score and physical, emotional, social, school, and psychosocial subscores.

Measurements and main results: Of the 193 patients, 41 died during their PICU admission and 27 died between PICU discharge and follow-up. Quality of life questionnaires were posted to parents of 108 of the 125 survivors and 70 were returned completed. Forty children (57.1%) had scores indicating a normal quality of life, whereas 30 (42.9%) had scores indicating impaired HRQOL. Of these, 14 (20%) had scores indicating poor quality of life with ongoing disabling health problems requiring hospitalization or the equivalent.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that, while long PICU stay is associated with significant mortality, the long-term HRQOL is normal for the majority of surviving children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Continuity of Patient Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Ireland
  • Length of Stay
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Patient Discharge
  • Probability
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors