Long-Term Outcome of PICU Patients Discharged With New, Functional Status Morbidity

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2021 Jan 1;22(1):27-39. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000002590.


Objectives: To determine the long-term (> 6 mo) functional status of PICU patients with significant new functional morbidities at hospital discharge.

Design: Longitudinal cohort followed-up using structured chart reviews of electronic health records.

Setting: Electronic health records of former PICU patients at seven sites.

Patients: Randomly selected patients from the Trichotomous Outcome Prediction in Critical Care study discharged from the hospital with new functional status morbidity who had sufficient electronic health record data to determine functional status.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Long-term functional status was measured with the Functional Status Scale and categorized by comparison to hospital discharge Functional Status Scale. Improvement or new morbidity was based on a change in Functional Status Scale of greater than or equal to 2 in a single domain. Overall, 56% (n = 71) improved, 15% (n = 19) did not change, 9% (n = 11) developed a new morbidity, and 21% (n = 26) died. The shortest median follow-up time from PICU discharge was 1.4 years for those who died and the longest was 4.0 years for those improved. Functional status at baseline (pre-acute illness) was different among the outcome groups with those that improved having the highest frequency of baseline normal status or only mild dysfunction. Of the long-term survivors with improvement, 82% (n = 58) improved to normal status or mild dysfunction, 11% (n = 8) improved to moderate dysfunction, and 7% (n = 5) improved to severe dysfunction. Trauma patients improved and cancer patients died more frequently than other diagnoses. The long-term outcome groups were not associated with hospital discharge functional status.

Conclusions: A majority of PICU survivors discharged with significant new functional morbidity with follow-up after 6 or more months improved, many to normal status or only mild dysfunction, while 29% died or developed new morbidity. Of the long-term survivors, 70% had significant improvement after a median follow-up time of 4.0 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Critical Care
  • Functional Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Morbidity
  • Patient Discharge*