A study protocol for an observational cohort investigating COGnitive outcomes and WELLness in survivors of critical illness: the COGWELL study

BMJ Open. 2017 Jul 13;7(7):e015600. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015600.


Introduction: Up to 9 out of 10 intensive care unit (ICU) survivors will suffer some degree of cognitive impairment at hospital discharge and approximately half will have decrements that persist for years. The mechanisms for this newly acquired brain injury are poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to describe the prevalence of sleep abnormalities and their association with cognitive impairment, examine a well-known genetic risk factor for dementia (Apolipoprotein E ε4) that may allow for genetic risk stratification of ICU survivors at greatest risk of cognitive impairment and determine if electroencephalography (EEG) is an independent predictor of long-term cognitive impairment and possibly a candidate intermediate end point for future clinical trials.

Methods and analysis: This is a multisite, prospective, observational cohort study. The setting for this trial will be medical and surgical ICUs of five large tertiary care referral centres. The participants will be adult patients admitted to a study ICU and invasively ventilated for ≥3 days . Participants will undergo follow-up within 7 days of ICU discharge, 6 months and 1 year. At each time point, patients will have an EEG, blood work (biomarkers; gene studies), sleep study (actigraphy), complete a number of questionnaires as well as undergo neuropsychological testing. The primary outcome of this study will be long-term cognitive function at 12 months follow-up as measured by the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status and Trails Making Test B.

Ethics and dissemination: The study has received the following approvals: University Health Network Research Ethics Committee (13-6425-BE), Sunnybrook Health Centre Research Ethics Committee (365-2013), Mount Sinai Research Ethics Committee (14-0194-E) and St. Michael's Hospital Research Ethics Committee (14-295). Results will be made available to critical care survivors, their caregivers, the funders, the critical care societies and other researchers.

Trial registration number: NCT02086877; Pre-results.

Keywords: Critical Illness.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Critical Illness / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Sleep
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02086877