Objectives: Adults report high levels of fatigue after intensive care, but little is known about pediatric survivors. This study aimed to explore rates of self-reported fatigue in children after critical illness.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Tertiary children's hospital.
Patients: Ninety-seven children aged 7-17 years old.
Measurements and main results: Children completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Multidimensional Fatigue Scale 3 months after discharge from PICU. Comparisons with normative data (n = 209) showed that PICU survivors reported similar mean (SD) total fatigue scores to their healthy peers (79.6 [16.3] vs 81.8 [12.5]; p = 0.239), but greater cognitive fatigue (77.4 [21.9] vs 82.4 [16.4]; p = 0.048). Also children who had sustained a traumatic brain injury reported "less" sleep/rest fatigue (84.6 [15.0] vs 76.8 [16.3]; p = 0.006). Baseline indices of severity of illness were not associated with fatigue.
Conclusions: The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Multidimensional Fatigue Scale appears to be a promising tool for use in outcomes research with PICU survivors. These results highlight the need to bear in mind the heterogeneity of PICU patients and the multidimensional nature of fatigue symptoms.