The effect of postintensive care syndrome on the quality of life of intensive care unit survivors: A secondary analysis

Aust Crit Care. 2021 May;34(3):246-253. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2020.08.006. Epub 2020 Nov 17.


Background: Despite increasing interest in postintensive care syndrome and the quality of life of intensive care unit survivors, the empirical literature on the relationship between these two variables is limited.

Objectives: This study aimed to examine whether postintensive care syndrome predicts the quality of life of intensive care unit survivors.

Methods: We analysed secondary data, which were collected as part of a larger cross-sectional study. The participants were recruited from six health institutions in Korea. The data of 496 survivors who had been admitted to an intensive care unit for at least 48 h during the past year were analysed. They responded to measures of postintensive care syndrome and quality of life.

Results: The participants' mean physical and mental component summary scores (quality of life) were 40.08 ± 8.99 and 40.24 ± 11.19, respectively. Physical impairment (β = -0.48, p < 0.001), unemployment (β = -0.19, p < 0.001), low income (β = -0.11, p = 0.004), older age (β = -0.08, p = 0.039), and cognitive impairment (β = -0.11, p = 0.045) predicted lower physical component summary scores. Mental (β = -0.49, p < 0.001) and cognitive impairment (β = -0.14, p = 0.005) and low income (β = -0.09, p = 0.014) predicted mental component summary scores.

Conclusions: The participants reported poor physical and mental health-related quality of life. Postintensive care syndrome, unemployment, low income, and older age were the main predictors of poor quality of life. In addition, postintensive care syndrome was a stronger risk factor for poor quality of life than demographic characteristics and intensive care unit treatment factors.

Keywords: Cognitive dysfunction; Critical care outcomes; Intensive care units; Quality of life; Survivors; Unemployment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Critical Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survivors

Supplementary concepts

  • postintensive care syndrome