High occurrence of postintensive care syndrome identified in surgical ICU survivors after implementation of a multidisciplinary clinic

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2021 Aug 1;91(2):406-412. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000003231.


Background: Postintensive care syndrome (PICS) has been identified in a large proportion of medical intensive care unit survivors; however, the occurrence surgical intensive care unit (SICU) survivors is unknown. We implemented a multidisciplinary critical care outpatient clinic (CCOC) to identify the occurrence of PICS in SICU survivors.

Methods: Seventy acute care surgery and trauma patients, 18 years or older, who remained in the SICU for 72 hours or longer at a Level I trauma center were seen in CCOC at 2 weeks, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks after hospital discharge. The CCOC staffing included a nurse coordinator, social worker, critical care pharmacist, physical therapist, and acute care surgeon who identified PICS sequelae in their respective specialties by clinical criteria and screening questionnaires.

Results: Of 82 eligible patients, 70 (85.4%) were seen at least once for 116 total visits. Forty-three (61.4%) patients suffered traumatic injuries and 27 (38.6%) underwent emergent general surgery. Sixty-seven (95.7%) demonstrated at least one PICS criterion. Over all visits, 26 (37.1%) patients presented with one PICS criterion, 24 (34.3%) patients with two, and 17 (24.3%) with three. Cognitive impairment was observed in 29 (41.4%) patients, psychiatric in 30 (42.9%), and physical symptoms in 65 (92.9%). Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care scores improved from severe impairment at admission to full function by 12 weeks postdischarge, yet 6 Minute Walk Test scores remained below age-matched references through all visits. Patients expressed mild to moderate depression based on Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores. A medication reconciliation was completed at 96.5% (112/116) of the visits with 116 total medication recommendations. By 24 weeks following discharge, only 26.4% (14/53) of previously employed patients had resumed work.

Conclusion: Through the successful implementation of a multidisciplinary CCOC, this study identifies an exorbitant rate of PICS among SICU survivors.

Level of evidence: Therapeutic/epidemiological, level III.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Critical Care
  • Critical Illness*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Medication Reconciliation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*

Supplementary concepts

  • postintensive care syndrome