The demand of critical care admissions to intensive care unit (ICU) is projected to rise in the next decade. The aim of this study was to evaluate short and long-term mortality and quality of life (QoL) of elderly patients (80 years and older) admitted to two ICUs for medical conditions, abdominal surgery (planned and unplanned) and orthopedic surgery for hip fractures, over a 6-year period. Three months and one year after ICU discharge, patients or family members were contacted by telephone to obtain follow-up information using the EuroQoL questionnaire. The data were compared with an age-matched of the Italian population. Two hundred eighty-eight patients were included in the study. ICU mortality of medical (14.8%) and unplanned surgical patients (26.4%) was higher than that of planned surgical (5.0%) and orthopedic patients (2.5%), as was hospital mortality (27.7% vs. 50.0% vs. 5.0% vs. 14.3%). Three months and 12 months mortality rates after ICU discharge were 40.7% and 61.1% in medical patients, 70.5% and 76.4% in unplanned surgical patients, 20.0% and 30.0% in planned surgical patients, 36.2% and 46.2% in orthopedic patients. QoL measures revealed that, one year after ICU discharge, medical and orthopedic patients had significantly more severe problems vis-à-vis mobility, self-care and activity than abdominal surgical patients and control population. Type of admission was the independent risk factor associated with ICU and long-term mortality, whereas age 90 year and older was associated with long-term mortality. Orthopedic surgery for hip fractures seems to influence QoL similar to medical diseases.
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